A World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson said the recent imposition of travel bans on countries in southern Africa cannot prevent cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant from spreading worldwide.
Dr. Margaret Harris, a spokesman for the United Nations Health Agency, said Thursday that a recent travel ban on countries in southern Africa could only buy time for other countries.
“If you take a drastic action like a travel ban, you can use it well to save time,” Harris told CNN. “But we know it doesn’t lock out the case. It’s usually already happening by the time countries are aware of the risks of imports.”
Last week, WHO designated Omicron as a variant of concern, but was criticized for skipping the naming of the new strain, Xi Jinping, the next letter in the Greek letter. Leader Xi Jinping.
Instead, WHO states: [the] WHO best practices for naming new illnesses suggest avoiding crimes in cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups.
And since last Friday, several countries, including the European Union, have issued travel bans in eight southern African countries after the discovery of cases of Omicron in South Africa and Botswana. Starting Monday, the United States and more countries have enforced travel bans in the region, but some countries, including Japan and Israel, have banned all foreign travel.
Omicron cases have already been detected in Israel, the United States, Canada, some European countries, and many countries other than Africa.
At the beginning of the week, top South African officials clearly criticized the curb of recent trips. On November 29, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said he should put an end to what he called an “unscientific” and “discriminatory” travel ban.
“This is a clear and completely unjustified deviation from the commitments made by many of these countries at the G20 meeting in Rome last month,” he said in a speech on television.
So far, Dr. Angelique Coetzee, chair of the South African Medical Association, has told the media that patients with Omicron have “very mild” COVID-19 symptoms. No deaths from new variants have been reported worldwide.
“Most of what we present to primary health care professionals are very mild cases, mild to moderate. Therefore, these patients do not need to be hospitalized for now. That means, “Coetzee said earlier this week.
“I’m not saying this is a serious illness,” Coetzee said, urging other countries not to panic. “This illness can cause mild illness to the majority of people.” If there are symptoms, easy to treat at home, no need for hospitalization, it is the first prize. “