World Health Organization (WHO) has criticized the developed countries that have issued travel bans against other nations where cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 have been reported.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusterms said the blanket bans by some countries were unnecessary and will only add to the heavy burden carried by some countries.
“We call on all countries to take rational, proportional risk-reduction measures, in keeping with the International Health Regulations. Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of Omicron, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” Tedros said.
The WHO boss revealed that 23 countries had registered cases of the new Omicron variant warning that the numbers were expected to rise in the coming days and weeks.
He commended South Africa and Botswana for revealing the results of their sequencing that confirmed the new variant of the Coronavirus that is fast spreading across the globe.
“WHO takes the Omicron emergence extremely seriously, and so should every country. We call on all countries to optimize public health and social measures, and ensure that high-risk and vulnerable individuals in all countries are fully vaccinated immediately,” he intimated.
He continued to appeal to developed countries to share Covid-19 vaccines equitably with other countries to help them deal with the low testing and vaccine coverage being witnessed.
“Globally, we have a toxic mix of low vaccine coverage, and very low testing – a recipe for breeding and amplifying #COVID19 variants. We urge countries to ensure equitable access to vaccines, tests and therapeutics all over the world,” he added.
Among countries that have confirmed their first cases of the new Omicron Covid-19 include South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Norway and Ghana.
Countries including USA, Japan, Hong Kong and Malaysia announced tighter travel restrictions in an effort to tame the spread of Omicron as more countries confirmed their first cases.