The discovery of the new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, has forced countries to put travel bans again. To prevent the spread of the virus across borders, various nations have zeroed in on the option of putting travel restrictions on people coming from South African countries. However, in December last year, World Health Organisation (WHO) called the bans ineffective.
Keeping up with its statement, WHO again stated on Wednesday saying that international travel bans only create economic and social stress on countries and do not make any difference in lowering the number of cases. The organisation held a meeting, in which it revealed that measures like travel restrictions have proven to be ineffective over time in controlling the spread of the Omicron variant.
Showing its concern over the unavailability of vaccines in many countries, WHO also urged nations to not ask for COVID-19 vaccination certificates from people coming from overseas. Further, it also asked nations to have guidelines regarding COVID tests and quarantine so that it should not put a financial burden on people coming from other countries.
In November 2021, the travel bans came into effect restricting people from African countries to enter several nations. However, despite the ban, cases have increased globally except for Africa. According to the report issued by WHO, Southeast Asia has witnessed the highest rise in COVID-19 cases in the last week with a daily positivity rate of 145%. Next in line is West Asia witnessing a 68% rise in cases every week. The spread of the virus has slowed down in American and European Countries. America has a 17% increase rate while Europe has only a 10% increase rate.
Across the six WHO regions, over 18 million new cases were reported this week, a 20% increase, as compared to the previous week. As of 16 January, over 323 million cases have been confirmed and over 5.5 million deaths have been reported worldwide.