Multiple countries banned flights from South Africa in an effort to stop the spread of a novel COVID-19 mutation.
As of December 22, 2020, the countries banning flights from South Africa include Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Israel, Saudi Arabia.
On December 21, 2020, the Dutch government announced that all passenger flights from South Africa were banned with immediate effect until at least January 1, 2020. Flights with cargo and medical personnel would still be allowed.
“The cabinet’s decision means that two scheduled flights that would arrive in the Netherlands from South Africa on Tuesday morning, each with about 120 passengers, will be canceled. There is contact with the airlines concerned about this. Dutch people who cannot return from South Africa are advised to find safe accommodation,” announced the Dutch government in a press release.
Turkish Airlines decided to suspend all flights to and from South Africa, as well as the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark.
“All testing and quarantine procedures will be applied to the passengers who are currently on flights from countries under flight suspension. We’re taking the necessary precautions in coordination with the related authorities,” wrote the airline in a tweet.
The new variant of the virus has been first noticed in the UK, causing a wave of travel bans across the world. In recent weeks, the mutation was found in around 10 virus infection cases in South Africa. According to Zweli Mkhize, South Africa’s health minister, the mutation is the cause for the second wave of infections.
On December 21, 2020, more than 25 European and non-European countries announced air travel restrictions due to the spread of a new virus mutation in the UK.