US to ban travel from South Africa, 7 other African nations due to COVID-19 variant – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-11-26 15:13:10 –

Brussels (AP) — The White House announced on Friday that the United States will limit travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region from Monday due to the new COVID-19 variant.

A committee of the World Health Organization has named the variant “Omicron” and classified it as a highly infectious virus. This is the same category that includes the most prevalent delta variants in the world. The panel said early evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection.

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In response, the United States has joined and established the European Union and several other countries. Travel restrictions For visitors from southern Africa.

The White House did not provide details of the new travel ban, except that restrictions do not apply to the return of US citizens or permanent residents who must continue to test negative before traveling.

Medical professionals, including WHO, warned against overreaction before subspecies outbreaks in southern Africa were better understood. But after the emergence of COVID-19, which caused a pandemic and killed more than 5 million people worldwide, the volatile world was afraid of the worst.

“We must act promptly and as soon as possible,” UK Health Minister Sajid Javid told lawmakers.

There were no immediate signs of whether the mutant would cause a more serious illness. Like other variants, some infected individuals are asymptomatic, South African experts said. The WHO panel quoted from the Greek alphabet when naming the variant omicron, as it did with previous major viral variants.

Some genetic changes appear to be of concern, but it was unclear whether the new mutant poses a significant public health threat. Some earlier variants, such as the beta version, were initially associated with scientists, but were less prevalent.

The European Union of 27 countries has temporarily banned air travel from southern Africa, causing inventories to plummet in Asia, Europe and the United States. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 1,000 points. The S & P 500 index fell 2.3% at the worst day pace since February. Oil prices have plummeted by nearly 12%.

“The last thing we need is to bring in new variants that will cause even more problems,” said German Health Minister Jens Spawn. Incidents have surged recently in EU member states.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said, “We need to suspend our flights until we clearly understand the dangers posed by this new variant. Travelers returning from this area will have strict quarantine rules. Must be respected. “

She took great care and warned that “mutations could lead to more emergence and spread of viral variants that could spread around the world within a few months.”

Belgium became the first European Union country to publish an example of this variant.

“It’s a suspicious variant,” said Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke. “I don’t know if it’s a very dangerous variant.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the US government, said it has not yet been detected in the United States. Overseas, the variant “seems to be spreading at a fairly high rate,” he told CNN. And while it may be more contagious and resistant to the vaccine than other varieties, “we certainly don’t know it now.”

According to scientist professor Marc Vann Ranst, the Belgian case returned from Egypt to Belgium on November 11 with mild symptoms until Monday, showing how complex the subspecies epidemic is. Involved travelers who did not get sick. A group that oversees the Belgian government’s response to COVID-19.

Israel, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, announced on Friday that it also detected the first case of a new variant of a traveler returning from Malawi. The traveler and two other suspicious cases were quarantined. Israel said all three had been vaccinated, but authorities were investigating the exact vaccination status of travelers.

After a 10-hour night trip, passengers on flight KLM 598 from Cape Town, South Africa to Amsterdam were detained for four hours at the end of the runway at Schiphol Airport on Friday morning until a special test was conducted. it was done. Passengers on flights from Johannesburg were also quarantined and tested.

“It’s ridiculous. If you’ve never caught a scary bagger before, you’re catching it now,” said Francesca de Medici, a passenger on the plane, a Rome-based art consultant.

Some experts said the emergence of this variant indicates that vaccine storage by developed countries could prolong the pandemic.

In Africa, less than 6% of people are fully immunized to COVID-19, and millions of healthcare workers and vulnerable people have not yet received a single dose. These conditions accelerate the spread of the virus and increase the chances of it evolving into a dangerous variant.

“This is one of the consequences of unfairness in the deployment of vaccines, and that is why the acquisition of surplus vaccines by richer countries inevitably repels all of us at some point,” said the University of Southampton, UK. Michael Head, Senior Research Fellow at Global Health, said. ..

The new variant added to investor anxiety that months of progress, including COVID-19, could be reversed.
Forex broker Oanda’s Jeffrey Halley said, “Investors are more likely to shoot first and ask questions later.”

As a sign of how concerned Wall Street is, the so-called horror gauge of the market known as VIX has risen 48% to 26.91. This is the highest volatility index since January, before the vaccine was widely distributed.

Prior to the EU announcement, Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO’s head of emergency, warned against a “kneeling reaction.”

“We’ve seen in the past all sorts of references to all sorts of variations, and everyone closing their borders and restricting travel,” Ryan said. “It’s really important that we stay open and focused.”

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has agreed to ban travel to countries that have reported new variants, strongly discouraging them. Past experience has shown that such a travel ban “has not had meaningful consequences.”

Nevertheless, the United States announced restrictions on visitors from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi hours after the government took similar steps.

The UK announced at noon Friday that it would ban flights from South Africa and five other South African countries, requiring anyone who recently arrived from these countries to be tested for coronavirus.

The Japanese government has announced that Japanese traveling from Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Southern Africa and Lesotho will be isolated for 10 days in a government-only accommodation and will be tested for COVID-19 on the 3rd, 6th and 10th days. Announced that you need to receive it. Japan has not yet opened its doors to foreigners.

Forch said US public health officials were discussing with a South African colleague on Friday. “We want to know exactly what is happening from scientist to scientist.”

Coronavirus infections have surged 11% in the past week in Europe, the only region in the world where COVID-19 continues to grow, according to the WHO Technical Working Group.

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Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO’s director of Europe, warned that the continent could kill another 700,000 people by spring without urgent action.

US to ban travel from South Africa, 7 other African nations due to COVID-19 variant Source link US to ban travel from South Africa, 7 other African nations due to COVID-19 variant

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