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Six countries to move onto Scotland’s red list amid fears over new Covid variant

New travel restrictions will be put in place for six counties amid concerns over a potential ‘vaccine evading’ variant.

The Scottish Government has announced that South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and Zimbabwe will move onto Scotland’s red list from 4am on Sunday.

Anyone who arrives in the UK from these countries must enter into hotel quarantine for a period of at least 10 days.

There are fears that the new variant, first detected in South Africa and Botswana, could evade some of the protections given by the vaccine

Passengers that enter into the UK from these countries from midday on Friday to Saturday must take two PCR tests and self-isolate at home.

The decision comes after the emergence of a new Covid variant, which has been detected in Botswana and South Africa in recent days.

Scientists are said to be deeply concerned about the variant, which is said to be more transmissible than Delta.

There are also concerns that the vaccines may be less effective in tackling the strain.

No cases of the Covid variant have so far been detected in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “International travel restrictions are necessary to protect the greater public health. While many restrictions have been significantly relaxed – largely thanks to the success of the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 vaccine roll out – we have always said it may be necessary to quickly impose fresh measures to protect public health in Scotland.”

Officials at the UK Government have also taken the decision to adopt similar measures in England.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The early indication we have of this variant is it may be more transmissible than the Delta variant and the vaccines that we currently have may be less effective against it.

“Now, to be clear, we have not detected any of this new variant in the UK at this point in time.

“But we’ve always been clear that we will take action to protect the progress that we have made.”

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