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WHO Urges Caution over Travel Bans linked to New COVID-19 variant

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WHO Urges Caution over Travel Bans linked to New COVID-19 variant

Countries can already do a lot in terms of surveillance and sequencing and work together with affected countries or globally and scientifically to combat this variant.

NEW YORK, United States of America, November 26, 2021 / APO Group / –

Friday’s development came as a World Health Organization (WHO) panel prepared to meet to assess the potential impact of a new variant of coronavirus identified as B 1.1.529.

According to the WHO COVID-19 technical director, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the information is still limited.

“There are less than 100 whole genome sequences available, we don’t know much about this yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations, and the concern is that when you have so many mutations it can have an impact on how the virus behaves, “he said during a question and answer session on Twitter.

Dr. Van Kerkhove explained that researchers are currently trying to determine where the mutations are and what they potentially mean for diagnosis, therapeutics, and vaccines.

“It will take us a few weeks to understand the impact of this variant, there is a lot of work going on. It is a variant that is under control. The technical advisory group (WHO) will discuss whether it will become a variant of interest or a variant of concern and if that is the case, we will give it a Greek name, but it is something to keep in mind, “he added.

‘Do not discriminate’

The expert thanked the South African and Botswana researchers for openly sharing information with the UN health agency.

“Everyone out there: do not discriminate against countries that openly share your findings,” he urged, as countries like Britain, France and Israel have moved to cancel direct flights from South Africa and neighboring nations.

According to South African health authorities so far, fewer than 100 cases of the new variant have been confirmed, mainly among young people who have the lowest vaccination rate in the country.

“Countries can already do a lot in terms of surveillance and sequencing and work together with affected countries or globally and scientifically to fight this variant and understand more about it so that we know how to act … so at this point implement measures of travel is to be warned against, ”WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva.

Protect yourself and others

WHO officials recalled earlier advice: People can do a lot to protect themselves from COVID, even if they continue to wear masks and avoid crowds.

“Everyone out there needs to understand that the more this virus circulates, the more opportunities it has to change, the more mutations we will see,” said Dr. Van Kerkhove.

“Get vaccinated when you can, make sure you get the full cycle of your doses, and make sure you take steps to reduce your exposure and avoid passing that virus to someone else,” he added.

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