Unvaccinated travellers might be victims of Omicron, Warns WHO

GENEVA: TheWHO warns on Thursday, those not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and over 60s are readily vulnerable to the disease, so they should avoid traveling the affected areas with community transmission, The WHO further said, the blanket travel ban is insufficient to hinder the spread of the Omicron variant. WHO intimates, the new Covid-19 variant is a profound concern that poses a “very high” risk globally, which has been felt compulsion by many countries to close their borders.

“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” the WHO said in a travel advice statement on Omicron.

“In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivising countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.”

First reported to the WHO less than a week ago after being detected in southern Africa earlier this month, Omicron has already appeared in several countries.

The WHO noted the increasing number of governments introducing travel measures, including temporarily banning arrivals from countries where the variant has been found.

The WHO said on Sunday, 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel measures aimed at potentially delaying the importation of the new variant.

“It is expected that the Omicron variant will be detected in an increasing number of countries as national authorities step up their surveillance and sequencing activities,” it said.

The WHO later issued a correction to the final part of that travel advice, relating, who should be advised to postpone travel, and to where.