WHO: Travel bans will not prevent the spread of the omicron variant

Coronavirus - face maskPhoto: AP Photo / Alastair Grant
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The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that general travel bans aimed at preventing the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus will not be effective.

Several countries have introduced restrictions for travelers, especially to and from southern Africa, after the omicron variant of the coronavirus was discovered in South Africa last week.

“Travel bans will not prevent the international spread of the variant, and such restrictions place a great burden on people and their livelihoods. In addition, the restrictions could have a negative impact on global health efforts during the pandemic by preventing countries from reporting and sharing epidemiological data and sequencing data,” the WHO stated in an update on international travel.

At the same time, it emphasized that people over 60 and others who are vulnerable to corona should be “advised to postpone travel.”

Uncertainty about vaccines

Much is still unknown about the omicron variant, including how well the current vaccines against the coronavirus work against it.

The head of the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, Stéphane Bancel, has stated that it looks like the effectiveness of the vaccines will be decreased against omicron.

“I think there will be a significant drop in efficiency. I do not know how much because we have to wait for the data, but all the researchers I have talked to say that it is not going to be good,” Bancel told the Financial Times.

On the other hand, Biontech’s CEO, Ugur Sahin, has stated that they believe the vaccine they developed with Pfizer probably also works against omicron.

“We consider it probable that the vaccine provides significant protection against serious illness caused by omicron,” he said on Tuesday.

Both Moderna and Pfizer have said that they are working on vaccines specially adapted for omicron. The EU’s drug agency EMA has announced that these may be approved within four months.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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