Omicron: Arvind Kejriwal urges PM Modi to ban flights from affected countries
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop flights from those countries which are affected by a new variant of coronavirus, omicron. The tweet comes just before PM Modi holds meeting to review the overall Covid-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive.
Also Read | All you need to know about the omicron variant
"I urge Hon’ble PM to stop flights from those countries which are affected by new variant. With great difficulty, our country has recovered from Corona. We shud do everything possible to prevent this new variant from entering India," the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief said on Twitter.
A number of countries, including the 27-nation bloc European Union, have suspended travel to south African countries, where the omicron variant believed to have emerged. The first case was detected in Botswana on November 9, and it has since spread to Hong Kong, Belgium and Israel.
Australian became the latest country on Saturday to announce travel ban to nine African countries: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi and Mozambique.
India, for now, has not imposed any travel ban for flights from the affected region. The Union health ministry, however, directed states to start rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong - that have reported cases of the new variant so far.
Experts say the omicron variant spreads faster than all the other known strains of the coronavirus and has more mutations that any of them. In fact, its 32 mutations are twice the number seen in delta, the world-dominant variant.
PM Modi has held such review meetings in the past too. In the last such meeting on November 3, he met with the officials of districts where the vaccination coverage was low and the respective chief ministers.