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World Forget Travel Bans to Fight Omicron Variant, Focus on Vaccinating Africans: Doctor

03:15  28 november  2021
03:15  28 november  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

'Counterproductive': Gottlieb Pans U.S. Travel Ban on African Countries Over Omicron Variant

  'Counterproductive': Gottlieb Pans U.S. Travel Ban on African Countries Over Omicron Variant Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that "harsh travel restrictions" will affect efforts to control the spread of the new variant.Gottlieb wrote on Twitter that it is "good" that the world is taking Omicron seriously as it prepares to combat the new variant, but warned that imposing strict travel restrictions will backfire.

South Africa has complained it is being punished - instead of applauded - for discovering Omicron , a concerning new variant of Covid-19. The foreign ministry made the statement as countries around the world restricted travel from southern Africa as details of the spread emerged. Israel, where the new variant has been confirmed, is currently considering banning all foreigners from entering the country for 14 days. Omicron cases have also been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.

The Omicron variant has been found in South Africa and Botswana, as well as in a person who traveled to Hong Kong from South Africa . Belgium was the first European nation with a confirmed case. Israel has also confirmed the presence of the variant . Fauci said Omicron appeared to be spreading at “a reasonably rapid rate” and said US scientists were in “very active communication” with their South African counterparts, seeking to learn more. “Right now, we’re getting the material together with our South African colleagues to get a situation where you could actually directly test it,” he said.

A prominent U.S. expert said Saturday that instead of implementing travel restrictions to stop new COVID-19 variants, world leaders should help vaccinate the African population. The comments came after scientists in South Africa detected the new Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus, which could be far more contagious than the Delta variant.

Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine said Saturday that instead of implementing travel restrictions to stop new COVID-19 variants, world leaders should help vaccinate the African population. Above, travelers queue at a check-in counter at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant Omicron. © AFP Dr. Peter Hotez, a professor and the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine said Saturday that instead of implementing travel restrictions to stop new COVID-19 variants, world leaders should help vaccinate the African population. Above, travelers queue at a check-in counter at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021, after several countries banned flights from South Africa following the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant Omicron.

Speaking on CNN Saturday, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said that travel bans "have not been very effective" during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International travelers to England must self-isolate until they test negative for COVID-19 after 2 cases of Omicron variant identified

  International travelers to England must self-isolate until they test negative for COVID-19 after 2 cases of Omicron variant identified Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced tighter travel restrictions for travelers entering England after the country detected cases of the Omicron variant.International travelers must take a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they get a negative result, ABC News reported. Face masks will also be required on public transportation and in stores.

South African doctor says omicron variant symptoms ‘unusual but mild’. The South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the presence of the COVID-19 omicron variant reported that it On Friday, Biden restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries over concerns of the The CDC also encouraged people to get vaccinated as the best way to protect themselves from COVID-19.

The bans are “akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker,” the ministry said in a statement. “Excellent science should be applauded and not punished.” For now, omicron — designated Friday by the WHO as a variant of concern — is surging in South Africa ’s populous Gauteng province But the pandemic has shown that travel bans often fail to keep highly infectious variants out. Variants often arrive in a country before a ban is announced, and even then can spread via returning citizens and travelers entering via third countries.

"Remember in the very beginning...back in early 2020, we talked about travel bans from China. In the meantime, this virus entered into the United States from Southern Europe to ignite that horrible epidemic in New York City that started in March and April," Hotez said.

"I think much more productive than travel bans would be refocusing our energies on trying to vaccinate Southern Africa because that's how these new variants emerge—they emerge out of large unvaccinated populations," he added.

"If the G7 leaders are serious about stopping new variants, forget about the travel bans, let's go vaccinate the African people."

An analysis by National World released Friday suggested that just 7 percent of African people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. South Africa has seen a higher vaccination rate, with 24 percent of its population fully vaccinated, according to data from the New York Times.

Omicron is already global, tests for international flights are far better than African travel ban

  Omicron is already global, tests for international flights are far better than African travel ban Kneejerk reactions can end up causing more harm than good. As the coronavirus continues to mutate, it is conceivable that new future variants can first arise in any country, including the United States. Setting precedents for attempted isolation can be used as international political weapons rather than as a risk mitigation strategy. It also encourages subterfuge, since no country wants to be labelled as the harbinger of a new variant with countries banning travel to and from them. A flawed and potentially dangerous message is sent when honest communication and good science are punished with travel bans.

Health officials expressed worry that the variant could result in immune evasion and greater transmission of the virus, but have said it’s too early to determine its impact yet. A young woman reacts as she receives a Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 in South Africa . A new variant was detected in the country, prompting a new travel ban from the U.K. Just 41 percent of South Africans have been vaccinated for the virus. A team from the World Health Organization is scheduled to meet Friday to determine whether the variant is significant enough to receive a name from the Greek alphabet.

The federal government announces travel bans and new quarantine rules amid concerns about the new Omicron COVID-19 variant circulating in southern Africa . Overnight, the World Health Organization called for calm, as scientists said it could take weeks to fully understand the variant 's mutations and whether existing vaccines and treatments will work against it. Mr Hunt said the outbreak again highlighted the importance of vaccination against COVID-19.

President Joe Biden on Friday announced the U.S. will ban travel from South Africa, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana starting on November 29.

The U.S. wasn't the only country to restrict travel from the region.

Japan, Israel, the U.K. and the European Union have restricted travel from Southern Africa in the wake of the discovery of the new variant.

The South African government has blasted the decisions to issue the travel bans. On Saturday, its Department of International Relations and Cooperation said the "latest round of travel bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker...Excellent science should be applauded and not punished."

On Friday, Scott Gottlieb, the the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), also criticized the travel bans. In a tweet on Friday, Gottlieb wrote that it's good that the world is "taking new variant seriously," but noted that it's "counterproductive in short and long run, however, to impose harsh travel restrictions on affected countries; hurting current containment efforts, discouraging future sharing."

Biden addresses nation on omicron variant as some travel bans to US take effect

  Biden addresses nation on omicron variant as some travel bans to US take effect With the omicron variant prompting new travel restrictions this week, President Joe Biden will address the nation on Monday in remarks about the new COVID-19 variant. "While we have said that travel restrictions can slow the speed of omicron, it cannot prevent it. Here's what it does: It gives us time," Biden said in remarks from the White House. "It gives us time to take more actions. To move quicker, to make sure people understand you have to get the vaccine. You have to get the shot. You have to get the booster.

After detecting the Omicron variant , South Africa feels ‘punished’ by global travel bans . W.H.O. says new variant in South Africa is ‘of concern’ as countries impose travel restrictions. Merck says its antiviral pill is less effective in a final analysis. But Dr . Osterholm said it could take time before scientists know if the current vaccines are effective against the variant , and how transmissible it is. One way to figure that out is through laboratory studies, which will take several weeks, he said. Another way is to follow breakthrough cases in people who are already vaccinated , which could take months.

The South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the presence of the COVID-19 omicron variant reported that it presents "unusual but mild" symptoms. Dr . Angelique Coetzee, a board member of the South African Medical Association, first noticed otherwise healthy patients demonstrating "The world should provide support to South Africa and Africa and not discriminate or isolate it!" Oliveira tweeted. "By protecting and supporting it, we will protect the world!" Peter Aitken is a New York born-and-raised reporter with a focus on national and global news. Stay up-to-date on the biggest health

Officials in Germany, the U.K. and Italy reported their first cases of the Omicron variant on Saturday.

Related Articles

  • Omicron Variant: Germany, Italy, U.K. Report Confirmed Cases as Travel Restrictions Multiply
  • First Omicron Variant Cases Discovered in U.K. Says Health Secretary
  • Pfizer in 100-Day Race For Omicron Vaccine as World Seeks to Contain Variant
  • China Could See Over 630K Daily COVID Infections if It Drops Zero-Tolerance Goal: Study

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These are the states where the omicron variant has been identified .
The new omicron coronavirus variant has been found in 12 U.S. states just three days days after the first case in the country was announced. The new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world. One day after Thanksgiving, the Wold Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency meeting on the variant, which it has determined is a "variant ofThe new variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, was announced in late November and has already spread to dozens of countries across the world.

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