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COVID-19 variant Omicron brings back travel curbs worldwide: All you need to know

Published: Updated:

The new potentially more contagious COVID-19 variant Omicron has raised alarm all over the world, with many governments responding with instituting travel bans from countries where it has been detected.

Here’s everything we know so far:

What do we know about Omicron?

The World Health Organization (WHO) labeled the B.1.1.529 variant which was first reported in South Africa on November 24 as “Omicron.”

South Africa has detected at least 100 cases of the variant.

WHO said this variant has a large number of mutations, some of which were described as “concerning,” and added that preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection, i.e. it is potentially more contagious than previously detected variants.

Omicron is currently being studied to determine more of its characteristics such as transmissibility, disease severity, and immune escape.

Scientists have yet to determine whether Omicron is vaccine resistant.

Where has Omicron been detected?

The new variant has been detected in the following countries:

South Africa, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel, Hong Kong, Botswana, and Czech.

Which countries instituted travel restrictions over Omicron concerns?

Australia banned the entry of non-citizens from nine African countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi, and Mozambique. Only Australian citizens will be allowed entry from those countries and will be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

Bahrain banned travel to and from 10 African countries: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola and Zambia. Only citizens and residents of Bahrain will be allowed entry from those countries, given that they undergo testing and quarantine.

Canada restricted entry of foreign nationals who have travelled through seven African countries: South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique.

Egypt banned entry of travelers from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.

European Union agreed to urge all 27 member countries to restrict entry of travelers who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini in the past 14 days.

Israel banned the entry of all foreigners into the country. Israelis can enter give they undergo quarantine.

Jordan banned entry of travelers from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.

Kuwait banned entry of foreigners from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eswatini, Zambia, Lesotho and Malawi. Kuwaiti citizens returning from those countries will have to undergo a seven-day quarantine.

Oman banned entry of travelers from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.

Russia banned entry of all foreigners from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Eswatini, Tanzania, and Hong Kong. Only Russian citizens will be allowed entry.

Saudi Arabia banned all travel to and from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.

Thailand banned the entry of travelers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Turkey banned travel from Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

UAE banned entry of travelers and transit passengers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique.

UK suspended flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

US restricted travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

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Read more:

Fauci says he won’t be surprised if new COVID-19 variant omicron already in US

Israel to ban entry of foreigners from all countries over COVID-19 variant Omicron

Omicron: New COVID-19 variant spreads to more countries

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