Countries reintroduce travel bans over omicron variant | Coronavirus Latest

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DW News published this video item, entitled “Countries reintroduce travel bans over omicron variant | Coronavirus Latest” – below is their description.

As concern grows over the omicron variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the panicked reactions by world leaders showed the urgent need for a global accord on pandemics. He said scientists around the world are “urgently” working to determine whether the omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, is more infectious or whether vaccines are effective against it. The UN health agency chief, however, emphasized that the 194-member World Health Assembly needs to ensure that the groundwork is laid for an accord that can prevent future pandemics.

US President Joe Biden on Monday said that the new COVID-19 omicron variant is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic” in a speech at the White House. Biden said that the US would “face the new threat just as we have faced those that have come before it.” He urged everyone over the age of five to get their vaccines and acquire boosters six months after their second dose. The president also encouraged people to wear masks indoors so that the country could continue on its path to normality.

The new variant B.1.1.529, which the World Health Organization officially named omicron, was first discovered on November 11, 2021, in Botswana. That’s just north of South Africa. Since then, B.1.1.529 has also been found in South Africa. It’s mainly been diagnosed in the province of Gauteng, which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria. Scientists estimate that up to 90% of all new coronavirus cases in Gauteng may be linked to B.1.1.529. They suggest that the new variant may have spread to eight other provinces in South Africa as well. As international travelers started to test positive for the new variant, countries began to shut the borders on certain routes or take other measures to restrict travel.

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