The discovery of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529, which the World Health Organization (WHO) calls Omicron, raises global concerns and widespread warnings.
In the early days, Omicron seems to be easier to reinfect people than other strains.
Australia has followed other countries and regions such as the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union. Banned travelers From nine countries in southern Africa.
Australian person I’m about to return from southern Africa You can still do that. However, they enter the hotel quarantine and are tested. In the last 14 days, people returning from nine countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique need to be isolated.
However, Omicron has already been detected in other regions, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium. Therefore, travel bans in southern African countries may slow the spread and buy a limited amount of time, but it is unlikely to stop it.
As the Australian Government and other countries are acting to protect their citizens, this needs to be accompanied by additional resources to support Southern Africa and other fast-acting countries.
When was Omicron detected?
The variant was identified in South Africa on 22 November from a sample collected from a patient. November 9th..
South African virologists take swift action, South Africa’s Genome Monitoring Network, Contacted the Government and notified the World Health Organization on November 24th.
this is, International Health Regulations It guides how the country should respond.
The behavior of this new variant is still unknown. Some argue that the growth rate of omicron infections, which reflects contagiousness, may be even higher than that of delta mutants. This “growth benefit” has not yet been proven, but is a concern.
“Knee jerk” response and WHO recommendations
African scientists and politicians I was disappointed What they see as a “kneeling” reaction from a country that imposes a travel ban. They argue that the ban will have a significant negative impact on the South African economy. The South African economy has traditionally welcomed tourists from around the world at the end of the summer.
They say it is still unclear whether new variants have occurred in South Africa, even if they were first identified in South Africa. Omicron has already been detected in several other countries and may already be in circulation in areas not included in the travel ban.
South African officials said the country was “punished” for detecting a new variant of Omicron as more countries are rushing to enact a travel ban.
“Good science should be praised and not punished,” the country said in a statement. https://t.co/Yicmn852uv
— Axios (@axios) November 27, 2021
Travel bans and subsequent economic costs to countries that detect new variants may also serve as discouragement for countries to identify variants of concern in the future.
WHO Generally not recommended No flights or other forms of travel. Instead, he argues that proven and valuable interventions such as vaccination, hand hygiene, physical distance, proper masks, and good ventilation should be prioritized.
In response to the variant of concern, WHO should conduct investigations in all countries to enhance surveillance and ordering, report early cases or clusters, and improve understanding of mutant behavior. Ask.
Omicron must take it seriously. I’m worried about its features, but there is a big gap in our current knowledge. Variants should be controlled by testing, tracking, isolation, application of known public health measures, and continuous monitoring while further analysis is being performed.
What can a wealthy country help?
Wealthy countries such as Australia need to help African countries and others share early warnings about potentially serious infectious disease threats and mitigate these threats.
As Independent panel for pandemic preparation and response Written in May: “[…] Public health officials see only the downside of drawing attention to potential outbreaks. “
The panel recommended creating incentives to reward early response actions. This may include the following support:
- Establish research and education partnerships, strengthen coverage of healthcare systems and infectious diseases, and significantly improve vaccine availability, distribution and equity
- Consider monetary compensation through some form of solidarity fund for pandemic risk.
It is important to expand the scope of the vaccine
Vaccines continue to be the mainstay of protection against the most serious effects of COVID-19.
It is unclear how effective the vaccine is against Omicron, but some protection is expected. Pfizer has also shown that it is possible to develop effective vaccines against new variants such as: Omicron in about 100 days..
The persistence of COVID is partly due to the extent of patchy immunization in many parts of the world, especially in the least developed areas.South Africa itself is better than most countries on the continent, but still 24% of the adult population is now fully vaccinated.. In Africa as a whole, this drops to only 7.2%.
Greater global support is urgently needed to increase these vaccination rates.
African institutions and leaders, backed by global health and vaccine experts, have insisted on an mRNA vaccine production facility on the African continent. They prioritize the local population, overcome supply chain problems, and respond in real time to the threat of emerging infectious diseases.
But developing countries are facing Important barriers Acquisition of intellectual property related to the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine.
There is still a lot to learn about Omicron’s behavior and impact, but the global community Country Do the right thing by sharing information quickly and transparently.
Quote: Travel Ban is the new COVID variant omicron (2021, November 29, 2021) obtained from https: //medicalxpress.com/news/2021-11-covid-variant-omicron-1.html on November 29, 2021. ) Is not the answer to stop
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