Over-60s should postpone travel plans in light of new omicron variant, WHO warns

·1 min read
 (The Independent)
(The Independent)

Over-60s and other people at risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms should postpone their travel plans in light of the new omicron variant, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

New advice issued today has said that travellers must “remain vigilant” while scientific research is underway to understand how the variant behaves.

The WHO have also warned that blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of the new omicron variant.

It comes after a number of countries, including the UK, EU and US are among t imposed travel bans on South Africa and other parts of Africa.

The advice from the WHO reads: “Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.

“All countries should ensure that the measures are regularly reviewed and updated when new evidence becomes available on the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of Omicron or any other VOC.

“In addition, all travellers should be reminded to remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, to get vaccinated when it is their turn and to adhere to public health and social measures at all times and regardless of vaccination status, including by using masks appropriately, respecting physical distancing, following good respiratory etiquette and avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.

“Persons who are unwell or at risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes), should be advised to postpone travel.”

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