BERLIN, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) — A German government spokesperson announced on Sunday that Germany plans to limit travel possibilities with the UK and South Africa.

Due to the new variant of the coronavirus, travel between Germany and the UK as well as with South Africa is to be restricted, government spokesperson Martina Fietz announced via Twitter.

A corresponding regulation is currently being drafted. Germany is also in contact with its European partners, according to the tweet.

The spread of the virus variant could be a coincidence. The mutations do not necessarily give the virus a selection advantage, even if that is possible, a leading German virologist Christian Drosten tweeted on the same day.

Robert Koch Institute, the German federal government agency for disease control and prevention, reported on Sunday 22,771 new infections within past 24 hours. This means 1,494,009 people in Germany have so far been confirmed to be infected. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus-related deaths rose by 409 to 26,049.

On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new tier four of coronavirus restrictions for London and other parts of England to combat an alarming surge in infections linked to a new virulent strain.

“New variant (of the virus) may be up to 70 percent more transmissible,” Johnson noted.