Despite asking countries to apply "a risk-based approach" with any travel measures after the Omicron variant was first reported in South Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised the unvaccinated, 60+ year-olds and those vulnerable to COVID-19 to postpone travel to hotspot areas.
“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," its latest guidance reads.
As countries have snapped shut their borders to travellers from southern Africa, WHO warned that blanket bans would not stop the spread of the new variant of concern.
The organisation said that measures such as “screening of passengers prior to travel and/or upon arrival, and use of SARS-COV-2 testing or quarantine of international travellers” should be “commensurate with the risk, time-limited and applied with respect to travellers' rights”.
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