The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed today the SARS-CoV-2 virus variant Omicron had been designated a Variant of Concern, and several countries are introducing temporary travel measures.
As of November 28, 2021, the WHO reported 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel measures to potentially delay the importation of Omicron.
National authorities may apply a multi-layered risk mitigation approach to potentially delay and/or reduce the exportation or importation of the new variant.
Such measures may include screening passengers before traveling and/or upon arrival, including via SARS-CoV-2 virus testing or the application of quarantine to international travelers.
These measures, nonetheless, need to be defined following a thorough risk assessment process informed by the local epidemiology.
The WHO says 'blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.'
In addition, 'they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.'
'All countries should ensure that the measures are regularly reviewed and updated when new evidence becomes available on the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of Omicron.'
Additional travel-vaccination news is published at Vax-Before-Travel.