Discover the alternative Omicron It made countries take new measures in an effort to control the epidemic. Restrictions range from closing borders to tourists from the southern region of Africa, where the strain was initially identified, to completely barring foreigners from entering, a decision taken by Israel, Japan and Morocco.
The World Health Organization (WHO) warned in a document sent to governments on Monday 29th of this month that the global risk of the micron variant is “extremely high”. According to the organization, the main concerns are transmissibility, the ability to escape from existing vaccines and the severity of the new strain. However, these hypotheses still need scientific testing.
The new variant has already been detected in Brazil (two confirmed cases in São Paulo) and on all other continents. The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) has closed air borders for passengers arriving from six countries: South Africa, Botswana, Swatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
On Saturday night, Anvisa published a supplementary technical note noting the inclusion of four countries in the list of restrictions: Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The Ministry of Civil Affairs, upon call, informed that a meeting was scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, 30th, to consider the matter.
See restrictions for Brazilian travelers in each country:
With Micron’s case confirmed, Israel on Saturday became the first country to completely shut down its borders, and said it would use phone tracking technology to limit the spread of the strain. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the ban was expected to last 14 days, affecting Brazilians and people of other nationalities.
Japan also announced the closure of its borders to foreigners from midnight to prevent the spread of the micron variant. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japanese and permanent residents returning from countries where microns have already been detected will have to quarantine in designated facilities by the government.
And the deadline for ending the restrictions, which also applies to Brazilians, has not been communicated. This Tuesday, Japan confirmed the country’s first case of the type.
Australia announced on Monday that it would delay the reopening of its international borders, which was earlier scheduled for Wednesday, December 1, for another two weeks. However, Brazilians will also have to wait for the specified period or even for new tariffs, should the situation worsen until then. The change occurs after the country reports its first cases of the micron variant. At least two people have already tested positive for the strain in the country.
The United Kingdom has banned non-British residents from ten countries in South Africa, and British and Irish residents from those countries must be placed in quarantine in a government approved hotel for ten days.
To contain transmission, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced, months after his suspension, the reinstatement of the requirement to wear a mask in public environments, such as on public transport and in stores. Therefore, Brazilians in the UK must follow the new regulations.
Johnson said at a press conference on Saturday that travelers wishing to travel to the country will be required to take a PCR test on the second day after arrival and isolate themselves until they get a negative result. “The measures we are taking today, including at our borders and face masks, are temporary and precautionary and we will review them in three weeks,” the prime minister said.
In an effort to stem the spread of Ômicron, Canada has announced the closure of its borders to foreign travelers who have recently visited seven southern African countries: South Africa, Botswana, Swatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
In the United States, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department on Saturday advised against trips to eight countries in South Africa. The list is the same as for Canada, with the addition of Malawi. The restrictions do not include US residents and citizens.
In late October, the US government ruled that non-citizen or immigrant travelers must be fully immunized against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination before boarding the country.
Last week, the European Union announced travel restrictions from seven southern African countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, countries like South Africa and Botswana should be grateful for discovering and reporting the new strain, not punishing them. “Micron demonstrates exactly why the world needs a new pandemic deal: Our current system discourages countries from warning others about the threats that will inevitably land on their backs,” he explained.
The Netherlands has tightened restrictions to contain the coronavirus in response to the increasing number of cases. Entertainment venues such as bars, museums, cinemas and cafes are expected to close by 5pm for the next three weeks.
Last Friday, Dutch health authorities reported 61 cases of COVID-19 among a group of 600 passengers who arrived from South Africa, and of the total, 13 tested positive for the micronized variant. The Netherlands has banned all flights from South Africa, but two KLM flights have already taken off.
The Dutch government said on Tuesday that a micronized type of coronavirus was already present in the country on November 19 – a week earlier than previously thought. More testing is being done to see how quickly the variant will spread across the country.
Switzerland said on Monday that anyone, whether vaccinated or not, coming from any of the countries on a growing list of countries where the strain has been detected, must be quarantined for ten days. The measure does not affect Brazil yet, but the situation may change if the cases investigated in the country are confirmed.
India will make covid-19 testing mandatory for travelers from more than a dozen countries, including South Africa and the United Kingdom, where the Ômicron variant has been detected. The decision, implemented from Wednesday, was made after a man who returned from South Africa tested positive for Covid-19, although it is not yet clear what kind of virus he contracted.
On Monday, Poland announced a ban on flights to seven African countries. The country will extend the quarantine period for some travelers and reduce the number of people allowed in places like restaurants, amid concerns about the new micron variant of the coronavirus.
On Sunday, Morocco announced a two-week ban on entry to all travelers, even Moroccans. The restriction, which also includes countries that have not yet confirmed micronized cases, such as Brazil, was implemented from Monday. /with international agencies
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