A brand new fast-spreading variant of COVID-19 precipitated the U.S. authorities to limit journey from southern African international locations at the moment. “Omicron” is now formally a Variant of Concern (VOC) for the World Well being Group (WHO). Along with the U.S., different nations are additionally taking motion in hopes of quickly containing the brand new variant.
The brand new variant of SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa first got here to the eye of WHO on November 24, 2021. The primary confirmed an infection of the variant was from a specimen on November 9. Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium, and Israel have additionally had circumstances of the variant. It grew to become a Variant of Concern for WHO on November 26.
“…this variant has been detected at sooner charges than earlier surges in an infection, suggesting that this variant could have a progress benefit.” WHO wrote in an earlier assertion.
New journey prohibitions
The New York Occasions stories the U.S. will prohibit vacationers from South Africa, in addition to Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi. The journey ban doesn’t embody U.S. residents or lawful everlasting residents. Nonetheless, these teams will want a unfavorable coronavirus take a look at earlier than touring to the U.S.
Along with the U.S., Canada, Nice Britain, Bahrain, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malta, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Singapore have restricted journey or stopped journey from South Africa.
European Union Fee President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned a flight ban was crucial as a result of “mutations may result in the emergence and unfold of much more regarding variants of the virus that would unfold worldwide inside a number of months.”
To be clear, well being officers know the brand new variant is completely different. However they don’t but know if Omicron is extra life-threatening.
“It is a suspect variant. We don’t know if it’s a very harmful variant,” Belgium’s Well being Minister Frank Vandenbroucke mentioned. Globally, there have been greater than 5 million deaths as a consequence of COVID-19 and its variants.
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