The Association of Southern African Travel Agents has labelled the United Kingdom’s decision to ban travellers from South Africa, in response to the detection of a new Covid-19 variant, a damaging “knee-jerk reaction”. This, News24 reports, as India, Germany, Israel, and Singapore joined the list of countries to ban travel from Southern Africa, and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that they will propose, in close coordination with Member States, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529. Tourism operators had pinned their hopes on the December rush and had already reported a surge in bookings but the latest news has dampened that optimism and rattled the tourism sector.