Omicron: Where was it Found and What Restrictions are Imposed over the World
In an attempt to stop the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus, a number of countries around the world have restricted movement and flights to and from South Africa, and other anti-epidemic measures have been taken.
Despite the measures, Omicron has already spread to most continents from the Netherlands to Hong Kong and Australia, BNR reported.
In Europe, the new version is registered in Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and the United Kingdom. In the Netherlands, 61 passengers tested positive for COVID after arriving from South Africa, 13 of them infected with the new, more contagious version of the coronavirus - Omicron, BTA reported.
Britain today announced new measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, world agencies reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that those arriving in the country will have to take a PCR test.
"We will require anyone entering the UK to have a PCR test by the end of the second day after arrival and to isolate themselves until they get a negative result," Johnson told a news conference.
According to him, people who have been in contact with people who have tested positive and are probably infected with the Omicron variant will have to isolate themselves for 10 days. The government has also tightened rules for wearing protective masks.
The coronavirus vaccine booster program will also be accelerated, Johnson added. England's chief medical adviser, Chris Whitty, who also attended the press conference, said vaccines were more likely to be more difficult to deal with the new variant.
Earlier today, the United Kingdom confirmed two related cases of infection with the Omicron variant.
Italy also said it had detected a new variant of the pathogen. The variant was isolated in a hospital in Milan in the sample of a patient who arrived from Mozambique. The patient, his family and their contacts are in good health, the Italian doctors added.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has recommended avoiding travel to the South African region because of Omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus that has been declared a concern by the World Health Organization.
Israel has announced it is closing its borders to all foreigners and reintroducing the use of phone tracking technology to limit the spread of the new version of the coronavirus, Omicron. Israelis will have to submit a negative PCR test upon entering the country, those vaccinated against COVID will be quarantined for three days, the rest for 7.
Several countries have said they are restricting travel to South Africa, where Omicron was first detected. Among them is Qatar - a key hub for international flights. Restrictions are also imposed by the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the Netherlands.
To limit the spread of the new option, Switzerland has announced that it will impose quarantine requirements on passengers arriving from the UK, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi, where cases of the new corona variant have been reported.
On Friday, Switzerland banned direct flights from South Africa and neighboring regions due to the establishment of the highly contagious Omicron. Restrictions were also imposed on travelers from countries such as Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. Entry from these countries will only be possible for Swiss citizens, as well as for people who have a residence permit in Switzerland or the Schengen area.
Cases of the Omicron variant have also been reported in Switzerland's neighbors Italy and Germany. For now, however, the country does not impose travel restrictions on the countries it borders.
The rapid closure of borders around the world has wreaked havoc at airports, with many people flocking to Johannesburg International Airport in a desperate attempt to catch the last flights before the bans take effect.
Scientists are frantically trying to determine the properties of the altered coronavirus - initial data show that it spreads much faster and is more resistant to previously known treatments, including vaccines.
Omicron also caused geopolitical tensions. The United States Department of State welcomed South Africa for immediately alerting the world to the new option, hinting at the way China reacted when the coronavirus first appeared.
South Africa, for its part, has complained that it has been punished with draconian measures for discovering Omicron.
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