(WHO corrected statement to say the warning for over 60s is for
people who are not fully vaccinated, paragraph 2)
GENEVA, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Countries should apply "an
evidence-informed and risk-based approach" with any travel
measures related to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus,
including possible screening or quarantine of international
passengers, but blanket bans do not prevent its spread, the
World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.
The WHO, in its latest guidance to authorities and
travellers, said that people over 60 years of age who are not
fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-COV-2
infection and those with underlying health conditions should be
advised to postpone travel as they are at higher risk of disease
First reported in southern Africa a week ago, the variant
has brought global alarm https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/hong-kong-expands-travel-curbs-omicron-fears-australia-reports-5-cases-2021-11-30,
led to travel bans, and highlighted the disparity between
massive vaccination pushes in rich nations and sparse
inoculation in the developing world.
National authorities in countries of departure, transit and
arrival may apply a multi-layered approach to mitigate risk so
as to delay or reduce importation or exportation of the Omicron
variant, the WHO said on Tuesday.
"Measures may include screening of passengers prior to
travel and/or upon arrival, and use of SARS-COV-2 testing or
quarantine of international travellers after thorough risk
assessment," it said.
All measures should be commensurate with the risk,
time-limited and applied with respect to travellers' rights, it
"Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international
spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,"
Some 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel
measures aimed at potentially delaying import of Omicron as of
Nov, 28, it added.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay, Editing by Timothy Heritage
and Grant McCool)