More countries ban all flights from South Africa over COVID-19 mutation

The Netherlands has joined a range of nations banning flights from South Africa to stop the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus.

The Dutch government said all passenger flights were banned with immediate effect until January 1, at the latest.

An exception would be made for medical workers, it said, while cargo flights were also still allowed.

At least seven countries and airlines, including Germany and Turkey, were reported to have banned flights to South Africa on Monday after a new genetic mutation of COVID-19 had been found there and is believed to be responsible for a recent surge in infections.

The Netherlands on Sunday already banned all passenger flights and ferries from Britain over the same issue

Panama has also announced that it will deny entry to travelers who have been to the United Kingdom or South Africa in the last 20 days as authorities try to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus strain.

The ban is temporary and applies to passengers entering by air, land or sea, the ministry said in a government publication. It did not specify a date for the measures to conclude.

Guatemala has also announced that it will restrict entry to travelers who have recently visited Britain or South Africa in an effort to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus strain, President Alejandro Giammattei has said.

The new measures will require people who have visited Britain or South Africa within 14 days to quarantine for at least a week upon arrival in Guatemala. Health minister Amelia Flores said the restrictions would initially last two months.