The United Arab Emirates suspended flights Friday from seven southern African nations because of a new coronavirus variant.
The Emirates News Agency, WAM, said on Twitter that travel bans for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini will take effect beginning Monday.
Qatar also updated its travel and return policy for exceptional red list countries following the emergence of the new variant, according to its Ministry of Public Health.
Qatar Airways tweeted that it will not allow passengers to board flights from South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The new heavily mutated variant that might be able to evade vaccines, was first identified Nov. 11 in Botswana.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Friday that the new variant is a "variant of concern," and named it Omicron.
The declaration came after the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution, an independent group of experts, met to assess the variant that was initially named B.1.1.529.
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