Global Governments Rush Towards Travel Bans Yet Again Amidst Omicron Panic

MN Report 02:55 PM, 29 Nov, 2021
Global Governments Rush Towards Travel Bans Yet Again Amidst Omicron Panic
Source: Image by Hands off my tags! Michael Gaida from Pixabay

JOHANNESBURG: The world is hastening to control the new B.1.1.529 Covid-19 strain discovered in South Africa, with Botswana, Australia and Hong Kong reporting their first variant cases.

As it is now being dubbed, Omicron has caused significant panic globally, with fears that it is incredibly infectious and vaccine-resistant. Thus, forcing countries to bring back standard operating procedures (SOPs) and guidelines from the height of the pandemic.

Multiple countries, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, have already announced travel restrictions for travellers from South Africa.

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) placed a complete travel ban on seven countries so far; South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia, and Hong Kong.

Israel, however, led the way for some of the strictest guidelines when it announced a complete border shutdown for all foreigners merely weeks after reopening for tourism. The Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the strain ‘very dangerous’, stating it as a red flag requiring proper precautions.

Unfortunately, Omicron has already started spreading like wildfire, with cases documented as far north as the Netherlands and even down under in Australia.

Governments rushed to close down borders, leaving tourists and travellers flocking for Johannesburg international airport. The travellers could be seen trying to board the last flights out to countries imposing travel bans in a frenzy, trying to escape any hindrances caused by the easily transmissible variant.

And the transmission is fast. 61 passengers from South Africa tested positive after arriving in the Netherlands. A panicked crowd of people, including babies and toddlers, were crammed together while awaiting testing. However, 30 per cent of people were either wearing their masks improperly or not wearing one altogether.



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