Days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) introduced the Omicron variant of Covid-19 as a variant of concern, international locations the world over have reacted with journey curbs, booster pictures and discussions on lockdowns. The regarding variant of the novel coronavirus emerged as many international locations have been cautiously opening up their borders to travellers.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentioned that everybody aged 18 years and older ought to get a booster shot. President Joe Biden urged residents to not panic and mentioned that the US won’t be implementing any extra lockdowns to cease the virus unfold. Biden mentioned he would lay out his technique on Thursday for combating the pandemic over the winter, and reminded individuals to get vaccinated, get boosters and put on masks.
In Scotland, in the meantime, the federal government introduced that they’ve recorded six new instances of Omicron variant. Worryingly, a number of the instances weren’t linked to journey in southern Africa, elevating issues that the brand new coronavirus variant is already spreading locally. The 4 nations of the United Kingdom have all restricted journey to southern Africa, the place the variant was first detected final week, in a bid to gradual its unfold.
Australian authorities mentioned on Tuesday that a global traveller who was most definitely contaminated with the Omicron variant has frolicked locally as officers rushed to trace the particular person’s shut contacts and areas visited. New South Wales (NSW) well being officers mentioned preliminary testing “strongly indicates” the traveller who arrived in Sydney final week earlier than the newest border restrictions has been contaminated with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Following this, the federal government has delayed its plan to open the worldwide border on December 1.
Singapore too has mentioned that it’s going to maintain off on additional reopening measures whereas it evaluates the Omicron Covid-19 variant. “This is a prudent thing to do for now, when we are faced with a major uncertainty,” Health Minister Ong Ye Kung advised a media briefing on Tuesday, including the variant had not but been detected regionally. Singapore’s well being ministry had earlier mentioned that two travellers from Johannesburg who examined optimistic for the Omicron coronavirus variant in Sydney, had transited by Changi airport.
In Asia, Hong Kong has additionally applied journey curbs. It has banned non-residents from getting into the town from 4 African international locations and plans to broaden that to travellers who’ve been to Australia, Canada, Israel and 6 European international locations previously 21 days because of fears over Omicron. In a press release late on Monday, the Hong Kong authorities mentioned non-residents from Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia wouldn’t be allowed to enter the worldwide monetary hub as of Nov. 30. Residents can return if they’re vaccinated however should quarantine for seven days in a authorities facility and one other two weeks in a resort at their very own value.
In Europe, Spain is the newest nation to detect a case of omicron variant. Earlier, Portugal, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Belgium had introduced that they’ve detected case of the Covid-19 variant. France mentioned that it has detected eight potential instances of the brand new variant. The affirmation could take just a few days because the samples have been despatched for testing.
Vaccine makers like Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Sputnik V and Novavax have indicated that they’re engaged on booster variations of their vaccines that may successfully fight the brand new variant.
Pfizer CEO advised CNBC that the drug firm is engaged on a model of its vaccine particularly aimed on the omicron variant of Covid-19. Company CEO Albert Bourla mentioned that the testing of the present vaccine in opposition to omicron is underway, and that it might present that the prevailing pictures “protect less.” He additionally expressed confidence that the corporate’s Covid-19 remedy tablet shall be efficient in opposition to the variant.
Moderna chief Stéphane Bancel mentioned that the present Covid-19 vaccines are unlikely to be as efficient in opposition to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. He had earlier mentioned on CNBC that it might take months to start transport a vaccine that does work in opposition to Omicron. “There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level . . . we had with Delta,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel advised the Financial Times in an interview. “I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like ‘this is not going to be good.’”
Johnson & Johnson, in a press release, mentioned that it’s evaluating the effectiveness of its vaccine in opposition to the present variant, and that it’s pursuing a vaccine particularly in opposition to the omicron variant. “We will not be complacent. Building on our long-term collaboration with scientists on the ground in South Africa and the ongoing real world effectiveness studies being conducted with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, we will work together to generate new data on Omicron. In parallel, we have begun work to design and develop a new vaccine against Omicron and will rapidly progress it into clinical studies if needed,” it mentioned in a press release.
Travel sector sees restoration slip
A number of weeks in the past, it appeared as if the pandemic-struck journey sector was seeing indicators of restoration. The newest variant has struck a blow to that. Airlines are scrambling to restrict the influence of the omicron variant on their networks. Southern Africa accounts for under a tiny portion of the world’s worldwide journey, however sudden border restrictions and route suspensions have left some carriers with an unsure future.