Across South Africa and Kenya there are restrictions that citizens can go through, according to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. While the Omicron variant was first reported in March 2016, it isn’t isolated. It has occurred in several countries since 2016, with a recent outbreak at South Africa’s Duke University. Information on travel restrictions on citizens of countries with a confirmed outbreak can be found here.
Meanwhile, international airport screening is being tightened, after the United Nations released its chief health officer, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, last month to propose how to “keep the health of the public safe from the threat of the outbreak” at Mombasa airport. According to Kenyan government health officials, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 took place because aviation staff wrongly labeled a patient in a Liberia airport lab as a typical malaria sufferer. Upon closer examination, the physician realized that the patient was in fact suffering from Ebola.
Since the Omicron variant was first confirmed in South Africa in March 2016, there have been no confirmed cases or deaths associated with it, according to the South African Health Department. Scientists have also attempted to use X-rays to detect the Omicron variant, but have found that it is an extremely difficult protein to detect. It has been found in the blood of a patient in Madagascar, though it is hard to know what the connection is because the patient died in November.
Since the U.N. released Tedros, the U.N.’s assistant health chief has been tasked with finding a solution to stop the spread of the Omicron variant. In an interview with CNN, Tedros said that “we need to develop faster diagnosis tools, effective prevention strategies and effective disease control measures … we also need to manage migratory movements as a threat.”
Read the full story at UN News.
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