Sri Lanka imposes travel ban from African countries over Omicron variant

Sri Lanka: After a possibly more contagious novel coronavirus strain called OMICRON was detected in South Africa earlier this week, Sri Lanka's healthcare authorities said on Saturday that most passengers from six southern African nations will be denied admission starting on Sunday. Arrivals from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, and Eswatini will be subject to mandatory quarantine beginning Sunday, according to a directive from the Director-General of Health Services.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identified the new COVID-19 variation B.1.1.529, which was first detected in South Africa this week, as a "Variant of Concern" on Friday, naming it "Omicron."  The top category of concerning COVID-19 mutations, according to the WHO, is "variant of concern."  It was first reported to the WHO on November 24 by South Africa, and it has since been found in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel.

"Travelers from Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Eswaitini (Swaziland) having a travel history containing transit in the past 14 days to South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Eswaitini (Swaziland) would not be permitted to disembark in Sri Lanka," according to the circular.

Travellers aged 12 and up who arrive in Sri Lanka over the weekend from these six southern African countries would be subjected to PCR tests regardless of their vaccination status, according to the circular.

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