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Journey amidst omicron: WHO says individuals aged 60 and older ought to delay journey to sure areas

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In steerage launched on international travel in relation to the COVID-19 omicron variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) wrote Tuesday that individuals ages 60 and older ought to delay journey to “areas with neighborhood transmission.”

The company mentioned in an announcement that whereas scientific research concerning the variant of concern is underway to know its habits, people who find themselves at elevated danger of growing extreme illness and dying – together with these with comorbidities that current an elevated danger of extreme COVID-19 – “postpone” journey plans to these locations. 

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“Individuals who’re unwell, or who haven’t been totally vaccinated or wouldn’t have proof of earlier SARS-CoV-2 an infection and are at elevated danger of growing extreme illness and dying, together with individuals 60 years of age or older or these with comorbidities that current elevated danger of extreme COVID-19 (e.g. coronary heart illness, most cancers and diabetes) must be suggested to postpone journey to areas with neighborhood transmission,” the WHO wrote.

Whereas not a lot is thought about omicron, the variant has unfold to twenty international locations, with more than 200 cases reported. 

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Preliminary proof raises the likelihood that the variant has mutations that would assist it each evade an immune-system response and enhance its capability to unfold from one individual to a different.

“Relying on these traits, there may very well be future surges of COVID-19, which might have extreme penalties, relying on numerous components, together with the place surges could happen,” the WHO said Monday. “The general global risk … is assessed as very excessive.”

In response to those studies, world well being leaders have taken drastic and controversial measures in an try to cease the unfold – issuing travel restrictions regardless of pushback from the WHO and southern Africa, the place omicron was first reported.

Since then, South African and U.S. scientists have reportedly been speaking in an effort to know extra concerning the new variant and the WHO recommended South Africa and Botswana for his or her “pace and transparency.”

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“It’s anticipated that the omicron variant might be detected in an rising variety of international locations as nationwide authorities step up their surveillance and sequencing actions. WHO is carefully monitoring the unfold of the omicron variant, and research are ongoing to know extra about these mutations and their influence on transmissibility, virulence, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines,” the group famous. 

All of this comes amidst a busy holiday journey season, throughout which the WHO mentioned important journey must be prioritized. 

The company instructed all vacationers to stay vigilant for indicators and signs of COVID-19, adhere to public well being and social measures always no matter vaccination standing and get vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19 – which U.S. well being leaders and the White House maintains is one of the best ways to guard in opposition to omicron and different variants.

As well as, the WHO mentioned international locations ought to apply an evidence-informed and risk-based method when implementing journey measures, together with a “multilayered danger mitigation method” devised to “doubtlessly delay and/or scale back the exportation or importation of the brand new variant.”

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Alternatively, it warned that “blanket journey bans” wouldn’t stop worldwide unfold and might “adversely influence international well being efforts throughout a pandemic by disincentivizing international locations to report and share epidemiological and sequencing information.”

“All international locations ought to be sure that the measures are usually reviewed and up to date when new proof turns into out there on the epidemiological and scientific traits of omicron or another [variant of concern],” the WHO suggested.

The Related Press contributed to this report.



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