WHO Omicron warning for unvaccinated vulnerable travellers

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The WHO urges unvaccinated travellers to delay their journey to areas with neighborhood transmission. File Photograph.
  • The World Well being Organisation wished individuals to this point unvaccinated to postpone their journey to areas with neighborhood transmission.
  • Blanket journey restrictions cannot hamper the unfold of latest variant, mentioned the WHO. 
  • Detected every week in the past in Africa,  the damaging Omicron has already appeared in a number of nations.

GENEVA: The WHO mentioned Tuesday that these not absolutely vaccinated towards Covid-19 who’re additionally weak to the illness, together with over-60s, ought to delay journey to areas with neighborhood transmission.

The World Well being Group additionally mentioned blanket journey bans wouldn’t cease the unfold of the Omicron variant.

The brand new Covid-19 variant of concern, which the WHO says poses a “very excessive” danger globally, has prompted many nations to close their borders.

“Blanket journey bans is not going to stop the worldwide unfold, and so they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” the WHO mentioned in a journey recommendation assertion on Omicron.

“As well as, they will adversely influence international well being efforts throughout a pandemic by disincentivising nations to report and share epidemiological and sequencing knowledge.”

First reported to the WHO lower than every week in the past after being detected in southern Africa earlier this month, Omicron has already appeared in a number of nations.

The WHO famous the rising variety of governments introducing journey measures, together with briefly banning arrivals from nations the place the variant has been discovered.

The WHO mentioned that as of Sunday, 56 nations have been reportedly implementing journey measures aimed toward probably delaying the importation of the brand new variant.

“It’s anticipated that the Omicron variant can be detected in an rising variety of nations as nationwide authorities step up their surveillance and sequencing actions,” it mentioned.

The WHO later issued a correction to the ultimate a part of that journey recommendation, relating who ought to be suggested to postpone journey, and to the place.

“Individuals who haven’t been absolutely vaccinated or wouldn’t have proof of earlier SARS-CoV-2 an infection and are at elevated danger of growing extreme illness and dying, together with individuals 60 years of age or older or these with comorbidities that current elevated danger of extreme Covid-19 (e.g. coronary heart illness, most cancers and diabetes) ought to be suggested to postpone journey to areas with neighborhood transmission,” the WHO’s corrected line mentioned.

Elsewhere, the WHO suggested nations to use an “evidence-informed and risk-based strategy” when implementing journey measures.

The UN well being company mentioned nationwide authorities in nations of departure, transit and arrival might apply mitigation measures that may delay or scale back the exportation and importation of the variant.

They may embrace screening passengers, testing and quarantine.

“All measures ought to be commensurate with the chance, time-limited and utilized with respect to travellers’ dignity, human rights and basic freedoms.”

The WHO mentioned that “important worldwide journey”, together with for humanitarian missions, repatriations and transport of significant provides, ought to all the time be prioritised throughout the pandemic.

– ‘Calm, coordinated, coherent’ –

Earlier Tuesday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus instructed member states to maintain calm and take “rational” steps in response to Omicron.

“We name on all member states to take rational, proportional risk-reduction measures,” he mentioned.

“The worldwide response should be calm, coordinated and coherent.”

Tedros confused that it stays unclear how harmful the variant is.

“We nonetheless have extra questions than solutions in regards to the impact of Omicron on transmission, severity of illness, and the effectiveness of checks, therapeutics and vaccines,” he mentioned.

The WHO chief mentioned it was comprehensible that nations wished to guard their residents “towards a variant that we do not but absolutely perceive”.

“However I’m equally involved that a number of member states are introducing blunt, blanket measures that aren’t evidence-based or efficient on their very own, and which is able to solely worsen inequities.”