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COVID-19: WHO Issues Travel Advisory Due To Omicron Variant

The World Health Organization has given an update on its travel recommendations amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
The World Health Organization has given an update on its travel recommendations amid the spread of the Omicron variant. Photo Credit: Pixabay/Rudy and Peter Skitterians

The World Health Organization has just given new guidelines for its travel recommendations amid the spread of the Omicron variant.

The agency shared the update on the new COVID-19 variant of concern on Tuesday, Nov. 30, providing guidance on how to mitigate the risks while scientists research the variant.

The WHO advised countries to use an "evidence-informed and risk-based approach" when implementing new travel measures and advised against blanket travel bans. 

"Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," the WHO said. "In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data."

Some risk mitigation approaches the WHO said can be implemented to decrease spread include COVID-19 testing passengers before or after travel or applying quarantines for international travelers.

The WHO said travelers should remain vigilant for symptoms of COVID-19, get vaccinated and follow the public health and social measures in place. 

The agency added that some people should be advised not to travel to areas with community transmission.

"Persons who are unwell, or who have not been fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and are at increased risk of developing severe disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities that present increased risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. heart disease, cancer, and diabetes) should be advised to postpone travel to areas with community transmission," the agency said.

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