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WHO says travel bans won’t stop spread of Omicron

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World
Countries all around the world announced travel restrictions amid the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

SWITZERLAND: The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that blanket travel bans will not prevent the spread of Omicron, as more countries rushed to impose curbs and the first cases of the new COVID-19 strain were detected in Latin America.

In the week since the new virus strain was detected and reported by South Africa, dozens of countries around the world have responded with travel restrictions — most targeting southern African nations.

But the World Health Organization said on Tuesday that “blanket” travel bans risked doing more harm than good, just as Canada expanded its restrictions.

In a travel advisory, the WHO warned the bans could ultimately dissuade countries from sharing data about the evolving virus.

But it did advise that unvaccinated people vulnerable to COVID-19, including over-60s, should avoid travel to areas with community transmission of the virus.

WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it was understandable for countries to seek to protect their citizens “against a variant we don’t yet fully understand”.

But he called for the global response to be “calm, coordinated and coherent”, urging nations to “take rational, proportional risk-reduction measures”. While much is still unknown about the Omicron variant — it could take weeks to determine whether and to what extent it is vaccine-resistant — it has highlighted that the global fight against COVID-19 is far from over.

Omicron has emerged as much of the northern hemisphere was already bracing for a new winter wave of the pandemic — leaving even nations with high vaccination rates struggling to contain rising infection numbers and prevent health services from being overwhelmed.

Governments, particularly in Western Europe, have already reintroduced mandatory mask-wearing, social-distancing measures, curfews or lockdowns — leaving businesses fearing another grim Christmas.

– INDIA TODAY

Thursday, December 2, 2021 – 01:00











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