Vietnam’s Ministry of Health has proposed the government suspend international flights from and to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Lesotho, and Mozambique for fear of Omicron variant.
|Omicron, variant of concern, in the world.|
Immigration of incoming people from those countries will also be halted to prevent the import of Omicron variant, originally referred to as B.1.1.529 which was designated “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Vietnam has not found the variant yet, but the epidemiology and Pasteur Institutes nationwide are tasked with genome sequencing of cases who are returnees from southern Africa, the ministry said.
Omicron has triggered global alarm as countries around the globe scrambled to impose new travel curbs.
Because of fears that the new variant has the potential to be more resistant to the protection offered by vaccines, there are growing concerns around the world that the pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions will persist for far longer than hoped.
According to WHO, preliminary evidence has suggested that there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron as compared to other variants of concern.
The preliminary research suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa. However, this might be because of increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a result of a specific infection with Omicron.
The research on Omicron has begun around the globe, but it is yet clear if this new Covid variant is more transmissible than other previous variants such as Alpha, Kappa, Delta.
On Sunday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the world is in a “race against time” with the Omicron coronavirus variant as scientists and manufacturers will need weeks to fully understand it.