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Omicron variant- Canada bans entry from 7 southern African nations- Precaution is better than panic

Picture courtesy Reuters/BBC

Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have been in South Africa, Eswatini, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia will be allowed to return but will face stringent testing and quarantine regimen. But the Canadian government has barred all non-Canadians who have been in seven southern African nations over the past 14 days from entering the country.

This measure will be in place till January 31, 2022, though no cases related to this variant have been detected in Canada as yet.

The new Omicron variant was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa on 24 November.

Several countries are scrambling to contain the spread of omicron and have banned flights from south African countries even as stock markets and oil prices plunged on fears surrounding the variant, potentially dealing a heavy blow to the global economic recovery.

Scientists have said the omicron variant appears to have a high number of mutations — about 30 — in the coronavirus’ spike protein, which could affect how easily it spreads to people.

Early evidence suggests Omicron has an increased re-infection risk, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

People should continue to follow measures to reduce their risk of Covid-19, including wearing well-fitting masks, following hand hygiene and physical distancing, improving the ventilation of indoor spaces, avoiding crowded spaces, and getting vaccinated.

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