June 27, 2022


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New COVID Variant Prompts Border Closings

Six circumstances of the brand new omicron variant of COVID-19 have been present in Scotland. The Scottish authorities stated Monday it isn’t but recognized the place the people contracted the virus, however a few of the circumstances could also be because of neighborhood unfold and never direct journey.

Two omicron circumstances had been additionally detected in Canada Sunday. Ontario Well being Minister Christine Elliott stated the individuals in Ottawa had traveled to Nigeria, which isn’t within the southern African area the place officers say the virus mutation has emerged.

Dutch well being officers stated Sunday 13 individuals who not too long ago arrived within the Netherlands on flights from South Africa have examined constructive for the brand new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The passengers had been a part of a gaggle of 61 who examined constructive following their arrival in Amsterdam Friday. The announcement got here shortly after Australia stated two circumstances of the variant had been found in passengers who not too long ago arrived in Sydney.

Israel and Morocco closed their borders to all international guests Sunday and Japan introduced a ban to take impact Tuesday, following information of the brand new COVID-19 mutation detected in southern Africa. Different international locations have restricted their journey restrictions to guests from Africa’s southern area.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stated his nation is “deeply upset” by the journey bans. “These restrictions are fully unjustified and unfairly discriminate towards our nation and our southern African sister international locations,” the South African chief stated. “The prohibition of journey isn’t knowledgeable by science nor will or not it’s efficient in stopping the unfold of this variant. The one factor the prohibition on journey will do is to additional injury the economies of the affected international locations and undermine their means to answer and likewise to get better from the pandemic.”

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The World Well being Group has referred to as for warning as international locations have shortly moved to shut their borders.

“It isn’t but clear whether or not Omicron is extra transmissible . . .in comparison with different variants, together with Delta,” the WHO stated Sunday in a press release. “The variety of individuals testing constructive has risen in areas of South Africa affected by this variant, however epidemiologic research are underway to grasp whether it is due to Omicron or different elements. . . There’s at present no data to recommend that signs related to Omicron are totally different from these from different variants.”

Concern over the variant has prompted many international locations, together with the US, Canada, Brazil, and a few European Union nations, to limit or ban journey from southern African international locations.

Suspected circumstances have additionally emerged in a number of different European international locations. “Inevitably, it is going to be right here,” prime U.S. epidemiologist Anthony Fauci stated Sunday on ABC-TV’s This Week. “The query is will we be ready for it? If and when, and it’s going to be when it comes right here hopefully, we shall be prepared for it,” Fauci stated.

Fauci and members of the White Home COVID-19 Response Staff briefed U.S. President Joe Biden on the newest omicron developments Sunday, the White Home stated in a press release.

“Dr. Fauci knowledgeable the President that whereas it should take roughly two extra weeks to have extra definitive data on the transmissibility, severity, and different traits of the variant, he continues to consider that current vaccines are possible to supply a level of safety towards extreme circumstances of COVID,” the assertion stated.

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The White Home stated Biden will ship an replace Monday on the U.S. response to the omicron.

The swift strikes by some international locations to seal their borders to vacationers from Southern Africa have prompted some South African officers and scientists to say they really feel like they’re being “punished” for his or her transparency in reporting the variant.

Scientists had warned that vaccine inequity was more likely to lead to mutations of the COVID-19 virus. Whereas tens of millions of individuals in Africa haven’t acquired even one of many COVID-19 pictures, some Western international locations are offering booster pictures to their populations.