WHO criticizes travel bans in southern Africa for new omicron variants

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, has urged countries to adhere to international health science and regulations to avoid travel

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The World Health Organization on Sunday urged countries around the world not to restrict flight restrictions to southern African countries due to concerns about new omicron diversity.

The WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, has urged countries to adhere to international health science and regulations to avoid travel restrictions.

"Travel restrictions may play a role in slowing down the distribution of COVID-19 but placing a heavy burden on health and well-being," Moeti said in a statement. "When borders are applied, they should not be unduly aggressive or aggressive, and should be scientifically based, according to the International Health Regulations, which is a legally binding instrument of international law adopted by more than 190 countries."

Moeti commended South Africa for complying with international health regulations and notifying the WHO as soon as the national laboratory identified the omicron variant.

"The speed and transparency of the South African and Botswana governments in introducing the world in this new way is to be commended," Moeti said. protect the earth from the spread of COVID-19. ”

Cases of the omicron variant of coronavirus erupted overseas on Sunday and many governments are rushing to close their borders as scientists have warned that it is unclear whether the new mutations are more alarming than other strains of the virus.

Although research is still ongoing on the omicron diversity, WHO recommends that all countries “take a risk-based approach to science and take steps to reduce its potential spread.”

Drs. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health in the United States, stressed that no data yet suggests that new mutations cause more serious illnesses than previous strains of COVID-19.

"I think it's very contagious, considering how fast it spreads in so many provinces in South Africa," Collins told CNN's State of the Union.

Israel has decided to block the entry of foreign nationals, and Morocco has said it will suspend all flights less than two weeks from Monday - amid a growing number of travel routes as countries try to reduce the spread of this type. Scientists in several places - from Hong Kong to Europe - have confirmed its existence. The Netherlands reported 13 omicron cases on Sunday, while Australia received two.

The US plans to ban travel from South Africa and seven other southern African countries from Monday.

"In contrast to the omicron diversity that has now been discovered in a number of regions of the world, which imposes travel restrictions on Africa is a threat to international unity," Moeti said. "COVID-19 always exploits our differences. We will only overcome this virus if they work together to find solutions."

The WHO has said it is stepping up its support for genomic sequencing in Africa so that successive laboratories can get enough human resources and test reagents to be fully operational. The WHO also said it was ready to provide additional assistance, strengthening COVID-19 responses which includes screening, treatment, infection prevention and community participation in southern African countries, it said.