New COVID Variant: Don’t Impose Hasty Travel Restrictions, Cautions WHO
New York: The new COVID-19 variant found in South Africa has set off a global alarm, because it has multiple mutants.
In fact, European nations like Germany, Britain, Italy and France have already announced travel restrictions on flights from many South Africa and some other African countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO), however, cautioned countries against taking such hasty travel measures.
“At this point, implementing travel measures is being cautioned against. The WHO recommends that countries continue to apply a risk-based and scientific approach when implementing travel measures,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told a UN briefing in Geneva on Friday.
The UN health agency has convened a meeting of experts to evaluate whether the new strain should be declared a variant of interest or variant of concern.
The WHO spokesperson said it will take a few weeks to understand the impact of the new variant B.1.1.529. Researchers have started work on determining how transmissible it is and how it will affect vaccines.
India have adopted a wait-and-watch policy on the new variant.
“This is a developing incident. We just saw a briefing by WHO. I don’t have any immediate information on the steps that we are taking. This is an issue more for our Health authorities & Civil Aviation authorities,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Friday.