The World Health Organization (WHO) Tuesday advised people aged over 60 or who suffer from comorbidities which could result in more serious cases of COVID-19 postponed all travel whenever possible in the light of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The Geneva-based organization also said travel bans entailed more negative consequences than actual progress in the fight against the disease.
The international organization has released a document recommending extreme caution to those at risk of developing a serious form [of C19] or dying.
People who are not in good health or at risk of developing a serious form of the disease, including those over 60 years of age and who have comorbidities should postpone their journeys as a consequence of the Omicron strain, the statement warned.
However, the WHO also said the suspension and ban on flights will not prevent the new variant of Covid-19 from spreading throughout the world. The organization also pointed out such restrictions would only have negative consequences.
Since Nov. 28, 56 countries had applied travel measures to try to delay the importation of the new variant, said the WHO, while warning that these general travel bans will not prevent international spread, and represent a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”
According to the WHO, these measures can have a negative impact on global health efforts during a pandemic by discouraging countries from reporting and sharing epidemiological and sequencing data.
People are not in good health or are at risk of developing a severe form of Covid-19 disease or dying, including those aged 60 years or older or those with comorbidities (for example, heart disease, cancer and diabetes), should be advised to postpone their trips, the WHO recommended.
The organization also urged all travelers to remain vigilant, get vaccinated and abide by public health regulations, regardless of their vaccination status, and insisted on the importance of face masks, physical distancing and proper ventilation in addition to coughing or sneezing into a folded elbow and keeping their hands washed or sanitized regularly.
The WHO also advised member countries to improve surveillance and sequencing of cases; share genome sequences in publicly available databases; report initial cases or clusters; and conduct field investigations and laboratory evaluations.
Preliminary evidence suggests that there may be a greater risk of reinfection [among people who have recovered from C19], said the WHO over the weekend, while the transmissibility and severity of the Omicron strain and its symptoms was still under analysis, which also applied to the performance of vaccines and diagnostic tests and the efficacy of treatments.”