The discovery of a new type of COVID-19, Omicron, has forced countries to ban travel again. To curb the spread of the virus across borders, various countries have nullified the option of banning travel from people coming from South African countries. However, in December last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ban ineffective.
Retaining its statement, the WHO on Wednesday reiterated that international travel bans only create economic and social stress on countries and do not make a difference in reducing the number of cases. The organization held a meeting in which it announced that measures such as travel restrictions have proved ineffective over time in controlling the spread of the Omicron variant.
Expressing concern over the unavailability of vaccines in many countries, the WHO also urged nations not to seek COVID-19 vaccination certificates from people coming from abroad. In addition, he called on nations to have guidelines on covid tests and quarantine so that they do not impose a financial burden on people from other countries.
In November 2021, a travel ban was enacted barring people from African countries from entering many countries. However, despite the ban, there has been an increase in cases globally except in Africa. According to a report released by WHO, Southeast Asia has seen the highest increase in COVID-19 cases with a daily positivity rate of 145% in the last week. In the next line, West Asia increases the number of cases by 68% every week. The spread of the virus has slowed in American and European countries. The US has a growth rate of 17% while Europe has a growth rate of only 10%.
In six WHO regions, more than 18 million new cases were reported this week, up 20% from the previous week. As of January 16, more than 323 million cases had been confirmed worldwide and more than 5.5 million deaths had been reported.