Thailand announced on Saturday that it would ban entry to its territory to people from eight African countries that it has designated as being at high risk of transmitting the new variant of the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus named Omicron.

From December, travelers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will no longer be allowed to enter Thai soil, Opas said. Karnkawinpong, a senior health official at a press conference.

Thailand was already scheduled to stop accepting requests to travel to Thailand from those eight countries on Saturday.

The announcement comes as several other Asian countries are tightening access to their borders due to concerns over the variant of the coronavirus responsible for Covid-19, B 1.1.529, dubbed Omicron by the World Health Organization. health (WHO).

The WHO did not wait to classify the new variant detected on 23 November in South Africa as “worrying” (VOC), saying that Omicron could spread faster than the previous ones, but without being able to determine it at this stage. the degree of virulence.

The WHO has also advised against travel restrictions, estimating that it will take “several weeks” to understand the virulence of the new variant.

“We have informed the airlines and these countries,” Opas Karnkawinpong said, adding that travelers from other African countries will not be allowed to go through Thailand’s travel program without quarantine for vaccinated travelers. Bangkok with Reuters

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Omicron: Thailand bans & # 39; entry from 8 countries in Southern Africa