Vaccine resistant Covid mutation reaches Europe, scientists claim

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A new "worst ever" coronavirus variant has already reached Europe and it's resistant to the vaccine, a virologist said today.

A patient in Belgium fell ill with the B.1.1.529 variant of the virus, which was first detected in South Africa.

Reports say the patient has no known links with South Africa and had travelled to Belgium from Egypt, Mirror reports.

Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said today: "We have one case of this variant that is confirmed. It's someone who came from abroad."

Marc Van Ranst, whose laboratory works closely with Belgium's public health body Sciensano, said the person developed the first symptoms on November 22.

The news comes as UK's Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there was "huge international concern" over the new strain.

Alarm bells started ringing last night, when Health Minister Sajid Javid confirmed that six African countries were being added to the Red travel list, due to the dangerousness of the new variant – known as the “nu” variant.

Anyone coming from South Africa and its surrounding countries Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will be forced to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival.

Speaking to the House of Commons, he claims that experience has shown "we must move quickly and at the earliest possible moment".

He added there were concerns the variant may be more transmissible, make vaccines less effective and may affect one of the UK's Covid treatments, Ronapreve.

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He told MPs it was "highly likely" the B.1.1.529 variant had already spread from Africa to other countries.

The Government added South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia to the UK's travel red list on Thursday evening.

Passengers arriving in the UK from these countries from 4am on Sunday will be required to book and pay for a Government-approved hotel quarantine for 10 days.

Downing Street urged anyone who has arrived from these countries recently to get tested.

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