Connect with us

World

“Omicron” – a new Covid variant triggers travel alarms as flights disrupted

Tim Newton

Published

 on 

A reminder today that there is still more steam left in the Covid-19 coronavirus. Just as the world started to peek from behind the curtain of uncertainty, another Covid “variant of concern”, named Omicron, has been discovered.

The World Health Organisation says Omicron has a large number of mutations, and early evidence suggests an “increased reinfection risk”. Officially, it is designated B.1.1.529. They have already explained that the variant has “around double the amount of mutations as the Delta variant”.

WHO scientists say it could take several weeks to complete their studies of B.1.1.529 “Omicron” to identify “any changes in transmissibility, severity or implications for Covid vaccines, tests and treatments”. The name ‘Omicron’ follows the WHO protocol on naming variants after letters in the Greek alphabet.

It is not known, at this stage, what efficacies the current vaccines will have on Omicron.

With the current focus on South Africa, world travel has again been thrown into disarray as nation’s scramble to stop further transmission. The EU, US and other major destinations, are now blocking flights from African countries. Earlier emergency travel responses, aimed at stopping transmission of Covid-19 variants, mostly delayed but didn’t stop the spread of the virus.

At this time, Omicron (sounds like the bad guy from a Marvel movie) has been detected in South Africa, Botswana, as well as 2 travellers currently quarantining in Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.

Already US President Joe Biden is cutting off travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi starting from Monday.

“We don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is a big concern and seems to spread rapidly.”

Canada has also moved quickly to contain the new strain. We are “banning the entry of foreign nationals that have traveled through southern Africa in the last 14 days”, according to Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

Travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini have also been prevented from entering the UK unless they are UK or Irish nationals, or UK residents. The UK’s Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, has described the new Covid variant as the “worst ever” strain of the virus.

Regionally, Singapore is opting to ban all non-residents from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe from entering the island, while Singapore nationals and permanent residents returning from any of these countries “must serve a 10 day stay home notice”.

Malaysia and the Philippines have already taken the same steps to restrict entry from the listed countries.

Japan, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan are also leading the way to impose restrictions on flights and travellers from the southern African nations. Many other countries are expected to fall into line with the new travel restrictions over the weekend.

But the International Air Transport Association, representing the world’s long-suffering airlines, is warning against new travel bans and restrictions, claiming they are “not a long-term solution” when it comes to managing the mutating C-19 variants.

IATA Director General Willie Walsh said the industry needed to “use the experience of the last two years to move to a coordinated data-driven approach that finds safe alternatives to border closures and quarantine”.

The developments following the announcement of Omicron in the past few days are leading to speculation that the strict curbs on world travel, brought in at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, could be on their way back. And just in the weeks before the travel industry’s busiest time of the year.

Stock markets around the world fell sharply on the announcement of the new Covid-19 variant. Even Bitcoin plunged some 5% when the news came out.

Meanwhile Thailand, via the CCSA, the country’s Covid-19 Taskforce, announced a series of reduced restrictions and travel impositions yesterday. Read the latest HERE and HERE.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Looking for your next home in Thailand? Let us match you with a local expert in minutes!

Thank you for your interest!

One of our agents will
reach out to you soon.

I want to:
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • United States+1
  • United Kingdom+44
  • Australia+61
  • Afghanistan (‫افغانستان‬‎)+93
  • Albania (Shqipëri)+355
  • Algeria (‫الجزائر‬‎)+213
  • American Samoa+1684
  • Andorra+376
  • Angola+244
  • Anguilla+1264
  • Antigua and Barbuda+1268
  • Argentina+54
  • Armenia (Հայաստան)+374
  • Aruba+297
  • Australia+61
  • Austria (Österreich)+43
  • Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan)+994
  • Bahamas+1242
  • Bahrain (‫البحرين‬‎)+973
  • Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ)+880
  • Barbados+1246
  • Belarus (Беларусь)+375
  • Belgium (België)+32
  • Belize+501
  • Benin (Bénin)+229
  • Bermuda+1441
  • Bhutan (འབྲུག)+975
  • Bolivia+591
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina (Босна и Херцеговина)+387
  • Botswana+267
  • Brazil (Brasil)+55
  • British Indian Ocean Territory+246
  • British Virgin Islands+1284
  • Brunei+673
  • Bulgaria (България)+359
  • Burkina Faso+226
  • Burundi (Uburundi)+257
  • Cambodia (កម្ពុជា)+855
  • Cameroon (Cameroun)+237
  • Canada+1
  • Cape Verde (Kabu Verdi)+238
  • Caribbean Netherlands+599
  • Cayman Islands+1345
  • Central African Republic (République centrafricaine)+236
  • Chad (Tchad)+235
  • Chile+56
  • China (中国)+86
  • Christmas Island+61
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands+61
  • Colombia+57
  • Comoros (‫جزر القمر‬‎)+269
  • Congo (DRC) (Jamhuri ya Kidemokrasia ya Kongo)+243
  • Congo (Republic) (Congo-Brazzaville)+242
  • Cook Islands+682
  • Costa Rica+506
  • Côte d’Ivoire+225
  • Croatia (Hrvatska)+385
  • Cuba+53
  • Curaçao+599
  • Cyprus (Κύπρος)+357
  • Czech Republic (Česká republika)+420
  • Denmark (Danmark)+45
  • Djibouti+253
  • Dominica+1767
  • Dominican Republic (República Dominicana)+1
  • Ecuador+593
  • Egypt (‫مصر‬‎)+20
  • El Salvador+503
  • Equatorial Guinea (Guinea Ecuatorial)+240
  • Eritrea+291
  • Estonia (Eesti)+372
  • Ethiopia+251
  • Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)+500
  • Faroe Islands (Føroyar)+298
  • Fiji+679
  • Finland (Suomi)+358
  • France+33
  • French Guiana (Guyane française)+594
  • French Polynesia (Polynésie française)+689
  • Gabon+241
  • Gambia+220
  • Georgia (საქართველო)+995
  • Germany (Deutschland)+49
  • Ghana (Gaana)+233
  • Gibraltar+350
  • Greece (Ελλάδα)+30
  • Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat)+299
  • Grenada+1473
  • Guadeloupe+590
  • Guam+1671
  • Guatemala+502
  • Guernsey+44
  • Guinea (Guinée)+224
  • Guinea-Bissau (Guiné Bissau)+245
  • Guyana+592
  • Haiti+509
  • Honduras+504
  • Hong Kong (香港)+852
  • Hungary (Magyarország)+36
  • Iceland (Ísland)+354
  • India (भारत)+91
  • Indonesia+62
  • Iran (‫ایران‬‎)+98
  • Iraq (‫العراق‬‎)+964
  • Ireland+353
  • Isle of Man+44
  • Israel (‫ישראל‬‎)+972
  • Italy (Italia)+39
  • Jamaica+1
  • Japan (日本)+81
  • Jersey+44
  • Jordan (‫الأردن‬‎)+962
  • Kazakhstan (Казахстан)+7
  • Kenya+254
  • Kiribati+686
  • Kosovo+383
  • Kuwait (‫الكويت‬‎)+965
  • Kyrgyzstan (Кыргызстан)+996
  • Laos (ລາວ)+856
  • Latvia (Latvija)+371
  • Lebanon (‫لبنان‬‎)+961
  • Lesotho+266
  • Liberia+231
  • Libya (‫ليبيا‬‎)+218
  • Liechtenstein+423
  • Lithuania (Lietuva)+370
  • Luxembourg+352
  • Macau (澳門)+853
  • Macedonia (FYROM) (Македонија)+389
  • Madagascar (Madagasikara)+261
  • Malawi+265
  • Malaysia+60
  • Maldives+960
  • Mali+223
  • Malta+356
  • Marshall Islands+692
  • Martinique+596
  • Mauritania (‫موريتانيا‬‎)+222
  • Mauritius (Moris)+230
  • Mayotte+262
  • Mexico (México)+52
  • Micronesia+691
  • Moldova (Republica Moldova)+373
  • Monaco+377
  • Mongolia (Монгол)+976
  • Montenegro (Crna Gora)+382
  • Montserrat+1664
  • Morocco (‫المغرب‬‎)+212
  • Mozambique (Moçambique)+258
  • Myanmar (Burma) (မြန်မာ)+95
  • Namibia (Namibië)+264
  • Nauru+674
  • Nepal (नेपाल)+977
  • Netherlands (Nederland)+31
  • New Caledonia (Nouvelle-Calédonie)+687
  • New Zealand+64
  • Nicaragua+505
  • Niger (Nijar)+227
  • Nigeria+234
  • Niue+683
  • Norfolk Island+672
  • North Korea (조선 민주주의 인민 공화국)+850
  • Northern Mariana Islands+1670
  • Norway (Norge)+47
  • Oman (‫عُمان‬‎)+968
  • Pakistan (‫پاکستان‬‎)+92
  • Palau+680
  • Palestine (‫فلسطين‬‎)+970
  • Panama (Panamá)+507
  • Papua New Guinea+675
  • Paraguay+595
  • Peru (Perú)+51
  • Philippines+63
  • Poland (Polska)+48
  • Portugal+351
  • Puerto Rico+1
  • Qatar (‫قطر‬‎)+974
  • Réunion (La Réunion)+262
  • Romania (România)+40
  • Russia (Россия)+7
  • Rwanda+250
  • Saint Barthélemy+590
  • Saint Helena+290
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis+1869
  • Saint Lucia+1758
  • Saint Martin (Saint-Martin (partie française))+590
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon)+508
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines+1784
  • Samoa+685
  • San Marino+378
  • São Tomé and Príncipe (São Tomé e Príncipe)+239
  • Saudi Arabia (‫المملكة العربية السعودية‬‎)+966
  • Senegal (Sénégal)+221
  • Serbia (Србија)+381
  • Seychelles+248
  • Sierra Leone+232
  • Singapore+65
  • Sint Maarten+1721
  • Slovakia (Slovensko)+421
  • Slovenia (Slovenija)+386
  • Solomon Islands+677
  • Somalia (Soomaaliya)+252
  • South Africa+27
  • South Korea (대한민국)+82
  • South Sudan (‫جنوب السودان‬‎)+211
  • Spain (España)+34
  • Sri Lanka (ශ්‍රී ලංකාව)+94
  • Sudan (‫السودان‬‎)+249
  • Suriname+597
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen+47
  • Swaziland+268
  • Sweden (Sverige)+46
  • Switzerland (Schweiz)+41
  • Syria (‫سوريا‬‎)+963
  • Taiwan (台灣)+886
  • Tajikistan+992
  • Tanzania+255
  • Thailand (ไทย)+66
  • Timor-Leste+670
  • Togo+228
  • Tokelau+690
  • Tonga+676
  • Trinidad and Tobago+1868
  • Tunisia (‫تونس‬‎)+216
  • Turkey (Türkiye)+90
  • Turkmenistan+993
  • Turks and Caicos Islands+1649
  • Tuvalu+688
  • U.S. Virgin Islands+1340
  • Uganda+256
  • Ukraine (Україна)+380
  • United Arab Emirates (‫الإمارات العربية المتحدة‬‎)+971
  • United Kingdom+44
  • United States+1
  • Uruguay+598
  • Uzbekistan (Oʻzbekiston)+998
  • Vanuatu+678
  • Vatican City (Città del Vaticano)+39
  • Venezuela+58
  • Vietnam (Việt Nam)+84
  • Wallis and Futuna (Wallis-et-Futuna)+681
  • Western Sahara (‫الصحراء الغربية‬‎)+212
  • Yemen (‫اليمن‬‎)+967
  • Zambia+260
  • Zimbabwe+263
  • Åland Islands+358

    Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current CEO for the company, based in their Bangkok HQ.

      Follow Thaiger by email:

      Thailand3 mins ago

      Woman kidnapped from hotel quarantine allegedly by men posing as police officers

      Thailand29 mins ago

      32 public toilets at Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya will be ready by this April

      Singapore38 mins ago

      Samsung removes ad in Singapore of drag queen hugging Muslim mother

      Sponsored8 hours ago

      What makes Supalai Icon Sathorn the ideal property choice

      image
      Laos52 mins ago

      American retail giant Walmart shows interest in Laos

      Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 hour ago

      Monday Covid Update: 7,139 new cases; provincial totals

      Indonesia2 hours ago

      Indonesia to launch travel bubble with Singapore, entry to islands Batam, Bintan

      image
      Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
      Thailand2 hours ago

      Ruling party ousts renegade MP Thammanat Prompao after tumultuous career

      Chon Buri3 hours ago

      Motorbike rider seriously injured after crashing into a parked truck in Chon Buri

      Thailand3 hours ago

      Interesting facts about Chinese New Year tradition in Thailand

      Thailand3 hours ago

      Thailand women’s football pressing on despite defeat by Philippines

      Visa4 hours ago

      “Covid-19” visa extension deadline tomorrow, no word from immigration

      Pattaya5 hours ago

      Pattaya bar raided by police at 5am, some test positive for illicit drugs

      Tourism6 hours ago

      Thailand Wellness Sandbox entry launching in coastal districts of Hua Hin, Cha-am

      Travel6 hours ago

      City Guide: Top gyms in Bangkok to achieve your fitness goals for 2022

      Thailand7 hours ago

      Government mulls legalising e-cigarettes to reduce number of cigarette smokers

      Thailand4 months ago

      Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

      Thailand11 months ago

      Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

      Tourism11 months ago

      Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

      Phuket11 months ago

      Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

      Tourism11 months ago

      Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

      Thailand11 months ago

      Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

      Tourism11 months ago

      In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

      Thailand1 year ago

      Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

      Trending