List of countries which have imposed travel ban in wake of Omicron outbreak

  • The new coronavirus variant is said to be highly transmissible and the 'most concerning' since the Delta variant outbreak.
A traveller wears a face covering while heading to the American Airlines check-in counter.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
A traveller wears a face covering while heading to the American Airlines check-in counter.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Published on Nov 27, 2021 10:21 AM IST
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By | Written by Sharmita Kar | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, New Delhi

Anxieties have risen and countries across the world have started imposing restrictions after the discovery of a new coronavirus variant in southern Africa which is said to be highly transmissible. The United States, Canada, Russia, and others joined the European Union restricting travel for visitors from the affected region where the B.1.1.529 variant -- now being called Omicron -- brought on a fresh surge of infections.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already categorised Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’ and warned that it could pose greater risks than Delta. The new variant has now spread to travellers in Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.

Here’s a list of restrictions around the world:

United States, Canada, Brazil

The United States imposed travel prohibition from the region, with exceptions for US citizens and permanent residents and for a few other categories, including spouses and other close family.

Canada and Brazil have also imposed similar travel restrictions for southern Africa, where a new Covid strain labelled a "variant of concern".

Britain, European Union

Britain and EU countries introduced travel restrictions on Friday, some within hours of learning of the variant. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen asserted that flights will have to “be suspended until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed by this new variant, and travelers returning from this region should respect strict quarantine rules.”

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia also suspended flights to and from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini over concerns related to the new coronavirus variant, the state news agency (SPA) reported on Friday.

Japan, Russia

The Japanese government imposed quarantine rules for Japanese nationals arriving from Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho. Such travellers will have to be isolated at government-dedicated accommodations for 10 days and take three COVID-19 tests during that time. Russia also announced travel restrictions effective Sunday.

Australia

Australia is the latest to ban flights from nine southern African countries on Saturday, tightening its borders again to prevent the entry of the Omicron variant. Non-Australians who visited South Africa, Zimbabwe and several other nations in the past fortnight will also be barred from Australia, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced today. Meanwhile, Australian citizens will have to undergo a supervised 14-day quarantine.

India

On the other hand, India 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.

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