WHO expresses displeasure over some countries continuing to block direct flight from SA

The World Health Organization's (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has expressed dissatisfaction with several nations' continued bans on direct flights from southern Africa due to the Omicron Covid variant. "It remains sad that certain nations continue to restrict direct flights from southern Africa owing to the Omicron version," Tedros remarked on Twitter late Sunday. It's also disappointing that some governments are refusing to accept negative Covid-19 tests from their own countries, preferring to only accept tests from third countries.

African countries' research and technical capabilities, as well as their transparency and sharing of data pertaining to the Omicron strain of concern, deserve respect. This contributes to making the world a safer place for everyone." On November 24, the Omicron form was initially reported to the WHO by South Africa. Omicron is a highly divergent variation with a large number of mutations, including 26-32 in the spike, some of which are worrying and may be related with immunological escape potential and greater transmissibility, according to the World Health Organization.

In the meantime, the Omicron varient is rapidly spreading in India. The number of persons infected with the new type has now risen to 21 after 17 additional cases were discovered on Sunday alone.

In response to the outbreak, the Health Ministry amended international arrivals standards, requiring all passengers arriving from "at-risk" countries to take an RT-PCR test as a matter of course, and 2 percent of passengers arriving from other countries to take the test at random.

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