Omicron variant confirmed in 23 countries

Advertisement

Ghebreyesus pointed out those screening passengers before travelling and/or upon arrival at the airport, and mandatory quarantine of international travellers are some ways to check the spread of the Omicron variant in place of blanket travel bans…reports Asian Lite News.

The Omicron Covid-19 variant, which was discovered in southern Africa last month, has now spread to as many as 23 countries, the director-general of World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Ghebreyesus said the countries hail from five or six WHO regions, and that the number is only expected to climb up. “WHO takes this development extremely seriously, and so should every country,” he added.

The WHO chief stated that the discovery of the Omicron Covid-19 variant should not “surprise us” since this is what viruses do and coronavirus will also do “as long as we allow it to continue spreading.”

“We are learning more all the time about Omicron, but there’s still more to learn about its effect on transmission, severity of disease, and the effectiveness of tests, therapeutics and vaccines,” Ghebreyesus told at a press briefing.

Reiterating the WHO’s message on not imposing blanket travel bans on travellers coming from affected countries, the United Nations (UN) health agency chief noted that countries should instead adopt “rational, proportional risk-reduction measures, in keeping with the international health regulations.”

Ghebreyesus pointed out that screening passengers before travelling and/or upon arrival at the airport, and mandatory quarantine of international travellers are some ways to check the spread of the Omicron variant in place of blanket travel bans.

His statements come after South Africa health minister Joe Phaahla recently called the travel bans on flights coming from the country by other nations as “unjustified” and “counterproductive”.

Three countries – South Korea, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia – reported cases of Omicron Covid-19 variant on Wednesday.

ALSO READ-UAE offers booster jab for all amid Omicron scare