TORONTO – In light of the emergence of the new Omicron variant, the World Health Organization (WHO) has released new advice regarding international travel, including that people over 60 should refrain from to travel.
Organization posted a notice on Tuesday listing ways in which countries and individuals can attempt to stay safe and minimize the risks posed by Omicron.
One of the main points was that people who are at a higher risk of developing serious illness if they contract COVID-19 – people who are sick, immunocompromised, with heart disease, cancer and diabetes, or the elderly of 60 – “should be advised to postpone the trip.”
Scientists in South Africa identified a new version of the novel coronavirus last week, which was quickly labeled a variant of concern and dubbed Omicron. While not much is known about Omicron at this point, the new variant appears to have a high number of mutations that make it different from other variants, raising concerns that it may prove to be more heritable or capable. to re-infect those who had COVID-19 previously.
The identification of a new variant has led a number of countries, including Canada, to announce temporary travel bans and other health measures designed to prevent the spread of the variant. However, several cases of Omicron have been detected in more than one Canadian province so far.
The WHO said in its opinion on Tuesday that countries should “continue to apply an evidence-based and risk-based approach when implementing travel measures,” adding that “general travel bans no ‘will not prevent international spread.’
They said countries could implement a “tiered risk mitigation approach” for international travel, such as screening passengers with testing or requiring quarantine.
In an update on Tuesday, the federal government announced that Canada will impose new testing requirements on air travelers arriving from outside of Canada. All will need to be tested at the airport upon arrival in Canada, with the exception of travelers from the United States.
Travel for essential reasons, such as humanitarian missions and emergency personnel or the transport of goods of essential supplies, should always continue, the WHO said.
“In addition, all travelers should be reminded to remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, to get vaccinated when it is their turn, and to adhere to public health and social measures at all times and what regardless of their vaccination status, including using masks appropriately, respecting physical distancing, following good respiratory etiquette and avoiding overcrowded and poorly ventilated spaces ”, indicates the opinion.