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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to remain calm and take rational measures against the fast-spreading Omicron Corona virus variant, warning that blanket travel bans being rolled out globally will not prevent its spread. Omicron, first reported  in South Africa less than a week ago, has already appeared in many countries, with borders shutting and dozens of governments imposing travel restrictions in defiance of WHO advice.

Germany's incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz yesterday voiced support for compulsory vaccinations and the UK ramped up booster jabs as even nations with high vaccination rates scramble to contain spiralling infections and prevent health services from being overwhelmed. WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that it was understandable that countries wanted to protect their citizens against a variant we don't yet fully understand, yet the UN health agency fears blocking travel could be unfair and dissuade surveillance. Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.

The WHO, in a travel advisory on Omicron, has said that they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivising countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.




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