The World Health Organization has urged people to cancel holiday plans to protect public health, due to the Omicron variants global spread.
“An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled.”
“Difficult decisions must be made.”Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO via BBC News
Countries around the world have started to impose measures in an effort to halt the spread further as the Omicron variant starts to dominate, in the US it now accounts for 73% of new infections.
Thailand has today suspended its Test & Go and Blue Zone Sandbox travel schemes and reimposed hotel quarantine for travellers. France and Germany have imposed travel curbs, the US advises against travel to more than 80 nations, the Netherlands has introduced a strict lockdown and rumours are rife that added restrictions are imminent in the UK.
Early studies suggest that vaccines may not be as effective against Omicron than previous variants of Covid-19 and many countries have started a booster programme. In the UK for example everyone 18 years or older can now book a booster vaccination.
Some studies have reported that a third “booster” jab can provide up to 85% protection against severe illness.
It is however too early to know the full efficiency of boosters or even how severe Omicron may be.
Boosters and Travel
Many countries have introduced “vaccine passport” requirements to foreign visitors to provide proof that they have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
The threat of Omicron has however forced may of these schemes to be suspended to help reduce the spread and health implications in countries which often have lower vaccination rates.
Proof of a third booster shot for travellers may not be enough however if the levels of boosters in destinations is not a similar high level. Vaccines can reduce the risk of infection but their main purpose is to reduce the effects, so any cases in a country with lower booster rates will spread quickly and cause more severe illness.
Unfortunately we may need to wait until more countries achieve high booster rates before our quarantine-free travel options open up again.
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