Despite the new variant of the corona virus, Lufthansa will initially continue to fly from Frankfurt to South Africa and back. Two machines from Johannesburg arrive in Frankfurt on Saturday and Sunday at 5.30 a.m. A Lufthansa plane from Cape Town will also land on Sunday at 5:25 a.m. "We are implementing the requirements and will continue to fly, also to bring people home and transport cargo," said a Lufthansa spokesman on Friday morning when asked. Observe the situation closely and adhere to all legal requirements and rules. A spokesman confirmed this statement on Friday evening. There is no flight ban. "We are keeping the flight schedule in place to bring Germans home and transport cargo."

From Saturday on, vacationers and other travelers returning from South Africa must immediately go into a fortnightly quarantine. You cannot return to your workplace on Monday, but rather have to report to the health department immediately, as a spokesman for the federal police announced on Friday. This is a consequence of the decision by the Federal Ministry of Health to declare South Africa a virus variant area after a possibly particularly contagious variant of the coronavirus emerged there. In this case, vaccination and recovery certificates do not protect against quarantine. Another consequence of the classification of South Africa as a virus variant area is that South Africans who have planned a stay in Germany are not even allowed to take the flight.According to the Federal Police, it is in all cases the airlines' responsibility to check whether travelers meet the necessary requirements for entry into Germany before departure.

Ny variant could impair vaccination protection

All in all, Lufthansa currently flies twelve times a week from Frankfurt to South Africa - seven times to Johannesburg and five times to Cape Town.

The South African flights of the freight subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo from Frankfurt will also continue, according to the information.

The Neu-Isenburg-based vacation airline Condor, on the other hand, has not been flying to South Africa since the beginning of the corona pandemic, according to a spokeswoman.

Sandra Ciesek, Director of the Institute for Medical Virology at the Frankfurt University Hospital, believes it is possible that the new virus variant could impair vaccination protection and the effectiveness of antibody therapies against Covid-19. The so-called Ny variant had already been found in people returning from Israel and Hong Kong, some of whom were probably fully vaccinated and had high viral loads at the time of diagnosis. The variant would contain mutations that would be associated with increased transferability. In addition, their genome has characteristics that are known to easily reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

That does not have to mean that the common vaccines no longer work at all with this mutant, explained the professor.

However, it is to be expected that Ny will have more effects on neutralizing antibodies than the previously known SARS-CoV-2 variants that are classified as worrying.

It is also possible that the effect of monoclonal antibodies that are used for corona therapy will be restricted.

It is now important to quickly examine the properties of Ny more precisely in the laboratory.

The mutant can be recognized with the already used PCR tests;

A specific verification procedure is currently being worked on.