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Vulnerable people should put off travel: WHO

Primary defence: People line up to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at a hospital near Johannesburg.  

The WHO said on Tuesday that those not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including people over 60 years of age, who are also vulnerable to the disease should put off travel to areas with community transmission.

The World Health Organization also said blanket travel bans would not stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

Watch | All about the new Omicron coronavirus variant

The new COVID-19 variant of concern, which the WHO says poses a “very high” risk globally, has prompted many countries to shut 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 that as of Sunday, 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel measures aimed at potentially delaying the importation of the new variant.

“Persons who have not been fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and are at increased risk of developing severe disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities that present increased risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes) should be advised to postpone travel to areas with community transmission,” the said.

Elsewhere, the WHO advised countries to apply an “evidence-informed and risk-based approach” when implementing travel measures.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 4:22:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/vulnerable-people-should-put-off-travel-who/article37794925.ece

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