Travel restrictions on omicron variant tighten around the world – .

Travel restrictions on omicron variant tighten around the world – .

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Australian authorities rushed on Sunday to conduct further tests on passengers arriving from southern Africa who tested positive for COVID-19 to determine if they were wearing the omicron variant as countries around the world tighten controls against the disturbing new strain.

Neighboring New Zealand has announced that it is restricting travel from nine southern African countries due to the threat posed by the variant, and Japan has expanded its border controls to include more countries in the region. Tourist-dependent Thailand, which only recently began to ease its strict border restrictions on leisure travelers from certain countries, announced its own ban on visitors from eight African countries. Similar restrictions have come into effect in Singapore’s business hub, which prohibits entry and transit to anyone who has recently traveled to seven southern African countries.

Stricter restrictions in the Asia-Pacific region echoed swift action by countries around the world to limit the spread of the omicron variant just days after it was identified by researchers in South Africa. The act first, ask questions later approach reflected growing concern about the emergence of a potentially more contagious variant nearly two years after a pandemic that killed more than five million people, disrupted lives and disrupted economies around the world.

While much remains to be learned about the new variant, researchers fear that it is no longer resistant to the protection provided by vaccines and could mean the pandemic lasts longer than expected.

Not detected so far in the United States

Cases involving the omicron variant have already been confirmed on several continents, with Germany, Italy, Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong all reporting cases in recent days.

America’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci said he wouldn’t be surprised if the omicron variant was already in the United States as well.

WATCH | Will existing vaccines protect against the omicron variant?


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