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WHO Recommends Seniors Postpone Travel Over Omicron Concerns

Published 5 months ago
By Forbes
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TOPLINE

The World Health Organization recommended Tuesday that those at risk of developing severe Covid-19 symptoms, including those over the age of 60, postpone travel over concerns that the omicron variant could be more infectious.

KEY FACTS

The WHO also asked countries to take mitigation measures to “delay or reduce” the spread of the variant, including screening departing and arriving passengers for Covid-19 and implementing a quarantine for international travelers. 

The agency noted “blanket travel bans” won’t prevent the international spread of the variant and may instead “disincentivize” countries from reporting and sharing data on the omicron variant.

KEY BACKGROUND

The WHO’s recommendation comes after IsraelMorocco and Japan announced this week they would temporarily bar foreign travelers from entering their countries due to concerns over the variant. Numerous other countries have restricted travel from countries in southern Africa, where the variant was first spotted, including the U.S., Australia and Brazil. The World Health Organization has designated the omicron variant as a “variant of concern” due to preliminary evidence that it has numerous mutations and could increase the risk for reinfection.

BIG NUMBER

20. That’s how many countries the omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in, with 226 cases having been reported so far, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease official, said Tuesday.

TANGENT

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Wallensky said Tuesday the agency would expand its surveillance for the omicron variant by increasing Covid-19 testing for certain international arrivals at four of the busiest international airports in the country, JFK, San Francisco, Newark and Atlanta. The omicron variant has not yet been detected in the U.S., but Wallensky said they are continually assessing the situation.

FURTHER READING

What We Know About The Omicron Variant (Forbes)

By Kimberlee Speakman, Forbes Staff

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