Covid: Africa travel curbs over variant concern and pandemic hampers Black Fridayon November 26, 2021 at 8:06 am

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Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning.

Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Friday morning. We’ll have another update for you this evening.

Concerns over a new coronavirus variant emerging in southern Africa have prompted the UK government to temporarily ban flights from six countries, with travellers required to quarantine on arrival. While only 59 cases of the variant have so far been confirmed, none of them in the UK, one scientist is describing it as “the worst one we’ve seen so far”, amid concerns it has the potential to evade immunity. The UK “acted immediately” with a “safety first” approach, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps tells the BBC.

A man is tested for Covid in South Africa

Image source, PA Media

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The director of South Africa’s Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation says the variant has 50 mutations, with more than 30 on the spike protein used by the virus to enter our body’s cells. And our health correspondent James Gallagher says its radical difference from the form that emerged in China “means vaccines, designed using the original, may not be as effective”. But, in his analysis, he adds many variants have looked bad on paper before.

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Image source, Getty Images

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It’s unclear whether a scheme launched to counteract an expected surge in youth unemployment due to the pandemic is creating quality job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds, a watchdog says. The National Audit Office says it’s also unclear whether jobs made available through the scheme would have been created anyway. The government says Kickstart has created more than 100,000 “life-changing” new jobs since being set up in September 2020.

Rishi Sunak

Image source, WPA Pool

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A woman has described having to learn how to talk again after she said she was left partially paralysed by side effects of her Covid-19 vaccine. Kerry Hurt, from Rotherham, is bidding for compensation, having suffered a stroke after undergoing surgery for a blood clot two weeks after having the AstraZeneca jab. The government spokesperson says severe side effects are “extremely rare”, affecting one in 100,000 people having first doses.

Kerry Hurt, with husband Pat
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Supply problems caused by the pandemic might mean there are fewer deals on offer this year. But Britons are nonetheless expected to splurge £8.7bn during this year’s Black Friday shopping event, analysts PWC predict. Our report explains how this year’s sales are a bit different.

Wondering how the UK’s reaction to the new variant affects travel rules? Here’s what we know.

You can find more information, advice and guides on our coronavirus page.

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