Against Advice from WHO, Member States Begin Imposing Uncoordinated Travel Restrictions

There could be a new trend of lockdowns, travel bans, and border closures sweeping across Europe once again, as the emergence of the Covid-19 Omnicron variant on the continent has triggered some governments to keep taking extreme restrictive measures.

Czechia, Denmark, Finland, France, and Lithuania’s Travel Restrictions Against South African Countries

Czechia imposed restrictions against South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique in an effort to contain the Omnicron variant.

“We know from experience how fast the virus can spread. We are therefore introducing measures that minimize the chance that this mutation will be introduced into the Czech Republic,” the Czech Republic’s Minister of Health, Adam Vojtěch said.

Denmark, Finland, France, and Lithuania have taken similar measures against the same South African countries listed above.

Other Member States such as Hungary have enacted rolling travel bans from places affected with the Omnicron variant without naming any specific countries.

The World Health Organization’s Advice Against Widespread Travel Bans

The travel bans listed above are not consistent with the WHO’s guidance, which is that countries should not impose blanket travel bans as the costs of doing so are large, and such measures are not effective whatsoever.

Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data. All countries should ensure that the measures are regularly reviewed and updated when new evidence becomes available on the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of Omicron or any other VOC,” the announcement reads.

More news of the WHO’s announcement will come in later articles.

To read the WHO’s announcement, click this link.

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