Italy imposed an entry ban Friday on people who have visited any one of eight southern African states in the last 14 days, because of the spread of a new COVID-19 variant there.

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza signed an executive order banning entry of travelers from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.

“Our scientists are studying the new B.1.1.529 variant. In the meantime, we will adopt the greatest possible caution,” Speranza said.

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