Why the comprehensive travel ban cannot stop omicron

Raghib Ali, an epidemiologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, said that in fact, the travel ban does not solve the problem—they just postponed it. Better testing is a more effective measure.

“We need a balanced and proportional response. This means that there is no travel ban, but people from countries where omicron circulates are tested and quarantined,” Ali said.

The travel ban may have another negative chain reaction: Cut off south africa Perform genome monitoring from the scientific supplies it needs to study the impact of omicron in the real world. Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatician at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa Tell nature: “By next week, if there is no change, we will run out of sequencing reagents.”

The bigger fear is that the lesson that other countries will learn from the treatment in southern African countries is that if you discover a new variant, it is better to keep it secret.

“They see other people being punished for discovering new variants, which may prevent them from sharing the data we need. This is not a theoretical possibility, it is very real,” Ali said.

Omicron will not be the last worrying variant. When the next attack occurs, we need countries to share what they know as soon as possible. A comprehensive travel ban puts this openness at risk.

Marchidisso Morty, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement last week: “Implementing a travel ban against Africa is detrimental to global unity.”

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