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Exactly when the effects of COVID – 19 were disappearing and lives were coming back on track, the breakthrough of the new COVID – 19 variant ‘Omicron’ has put the world into trouble again. The new variant was recognized in Botswana at first on November 1,2021. However, after that, the cases were found in various parts of the world. Apparently, the variant has now been discovered in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark and many more countries.
As a result, the governments across the world became proactive and started taking protective measures. The major changes can be seen in the traveling guidelines of several countries. Just when the countries allowed or planning to allow the entry of international travelers into their lands, the level of restrictions has been increased again. Many travel destinations have led to obstruct flights from certain countries after the revealing of the Omicron variant.
Multiple countries including Germany, Canada, Italy, Israel and Hong Kong are reporting cases of the new variant. However, a larger part of the new constraints are centered around countries in southern Africa. Where some contries are completely banning the flights arriving from certain countries, others are settling new traveling guidelines introducing more strict restrictions to the travelers arriving from these countries. The countries that are on the red list include South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.
As mentioned, the swift outbreak of the variant has bounded governments of different nations to impose travel restrictions to the people coming from countries in southern Africa. For example, the European union declared plans to block travelers from south Africa and other southern African countries. UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson declared extra conditions for the travelers. As per the announcement, each traveler entering the country will have to undergo a PCR test by the end of the next day after landing. Self-isolation is mandatory for the travelers until the negativity of the test gets confirmed. Likewise, New Zealand is also halting travel from nine southern African countries due to safety concerns arised because of the new Omicron variant. Japan has also adopted stringent approaches to save the country from the spread of the virus.
As the condition is unstable now, we are not in a position to predict the duration of imposed restrictions. The cases have started to appear in several other countries so more restriction can be expected in the coming days. As of now, the government of most nations is restricting citizens and permanent resident holders from southern African countries to enter their borders. However, the situation can change at any point of time so we can only hope for the best.
Scientists are still not sure about the behaviour, transmission rate of the new variant and it’s response to the medicines. So, the best thing we can do is to get vaccinated. The other necessary safety measures that can help us to safeguard ourselves from the virus is maintaining social distancing, wearing face mask when in public and avoiding crowded places.
So, ensure than you’re vaccinated with the adequate doses, use a face mask, maintain social distancing as much as possible when traveling. Also, be careful about what you do while on the journey and avoid the chores that can put you at the greater risk. If you will travel with utmost precautions can then you can finish your travel with the least risk.
For the people who have planned international holiday for the approaching winter holidays, the timing is certainly not appropriate. Currently, we cannot predict if the spread of the new Omicron variant will direct to more international travel constraints. For the people who have already made the necessary bookings, having a thorough COVID – 19 insurance plan in place to recompense the probabilities is recommended.
As of now, the primary intent of the governments behind imposing restrictions is to get some time to understand the new Omicron variant and its consequences in a better way. However, the restrictions are seen as biased and ineffective by some authorities. The authorities said that the countries should adopt some systematic approaches to control the spread of the virus.
Looking at the current scenario, it seems like it won’t. Domestic air travel is reaching new heights day by day. As not much information is revealed about the new variant, getting panic at the time is absolutely not required. However, a faster test and trace methodology is something that needs to be implemented. We can only hope that Omicron and new travel restrictions won’t alter our domestic travel plans. Because considering the past experiences we can conclude that they have been incompetent in stopping the expansion of the virus despite the distinct variants.
COVID – 19 is ruining the world for so long. We will be able to solve the problem only when we will come together to find out the solutions. Though, travel restrictions can play a crucial role in halting the spread of the virus, it certainly puts heavy load on the lives of the people who are interested to study, work or travel abroad for other reasons.
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