Scientists are racing to assess the threat from the new coronavirus variant Omicron. Cases have surfaced in several countries – including Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy and Australia. Dutch authorities have also confirmed 13 Omicron infections among airline passengers who arrived from South Africa – which first sounded the alarm. Governments around the world have imposed restrictions on travel from southern Africa. Scientists are still unclear how infectious Omicron might be, and whether current vaccines will remain effective.
Once again, it feels like the world is racing to catch up with the pandemic. The UK banned flights from southern Africa and still found omicron in its midst. The list of countries affected is growing while the research has just begun.
Germany was already facing its worst wave of infections. Now omicron has been found in travelers arriving from South Africa, threatening to put even more strain on the healthcare system.
Israel has certainly heard that wake-up call. With one confirmed case of the variant and several more suspected, it is shutting its borders to all foreign travelers for two weeks and phone surveillance technology will be used to keep track of infected people. They’re the most drastic measures announced by any nation so far in the wake of this new development.
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