Omicron detected in various countries, WHO unclear whether it’s more dangerous

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Monday said it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible, or causes more severe disease compared to other variants.

Omicron, a new COVID-19 variant, which has been detected in a growing number of countries and regions worldwide has been prompting governments to tighten their restrictions and impose new travel bans.

The variant has sparked concerns among the public as two people in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa have tested positive for the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19.

According to the Ontario provincial government on Sunday two people had recently traveled to Nigeria.

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A statement issued by Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Kieran Moore said “Ottawa Public Health is conducting case and contact management and the patients are in isolation.’’

To prevent a potential pandemic resurgence fueled by the new variant, countries around the world have taken new preventive measures or tightened their existing restrictions.

France has decided, along with other European Union countries, to suspend flights from seven Southern African countries.

Meanwhile, British Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that mandatory mask-wearing should come into force from Tuesday.

People will be required to wear a face mask on public transport and in shops. But people will not need to wear them in pubs and restaurants.

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The British government has previously added South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia to the country’s travel red list.

The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Sunday announced new travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant.

It also recommended Libyans not to travel to countries where the new variant has been detected.

Jordan has also announced that travelers from South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Eswatini, and Botswana are banned from entry into the country.

However, Jordanian citizens and their immediate family arriving from those countries are allowed to travel to Jordan through Queen Alia International Airport only and after following certain procedures. (Xinhua/NAN)

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