Omicron: Where Has the Variant Been Found? What Are the Travel Restrictions?

The strain, which was first reported in Africa, has been found in a few other countries like Hong Kong and Israel.

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The recently detected B.1.1.529 strain of COVID-19, Omicron, has pushed several countries to ban or restrict travel to and from southern Africa.

The strain, which was first reported in South Africa, has been found in a few other countries like United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Botswana, and Israel. The World Health Organization on Friday, 26 November, has declared it a "variant of concern".

What are the travel restrictions in wake of the new variant? What are the other countries where it has been found? Here's what we know so far.


What are the countries where the Omicron variant has been reported?

Here are the countries where the variant has been found so far:

  • South Africa

  • Botswana

  • Nigeria

  • Ghana

  • Zimbabwe

  • Belgium

  • Hong Kong

  • Israel

  • Austria

  • United Kingdom

  • Canada

  • Australia

  • Italy

  • Denmark

  • Czech Republic

  • Netherlands

  • Germany

  • Portugal

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Japan

  • Brazil

  • Réunion Island - French territory

  • United States

  • South Korea

  • Switzerland

  • Ireland

  • Norway

  • Saudi Arabia

  • UAE

  • India

  • France

  • Singapore

  • Finland

  • Iceland

  • Greece


What are the travel restrictions imposed by India?

On Monday, the Indian government said that all International travellers will have to provide their 14 days’ travel history and upload negative COVID test results from 1 December.

Further, travellers from “at-risk” countries will have to go undergo a mandatory 7-day quarantine, even if they test negative for the virus. These countries include the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.

Travellers coming to Mumbai from South Africa will have to be quarantined and if found positive, genome sequencing will be done, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar told news agency ANI.

The Maharashtra government announced that all international travellers will have to follow the Central government's guidelines and all domestic passengers will have to have a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a RT-PCR test valid for 72 hrs.

Travellers landing at the airports in Gujarat from these countries will have to undergo a mandatory RT-PCR test.


Which countries have imposed travel restrictions?

The United States of America, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand have issued a travel ban from South Africa and neighbouring countries of Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, the Seychelles, Malawi, and Mozambique.

Australia halted its plan to welcome international skilled workers and students in view of the variant, AFP reported.

The United Kingdom has banned travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini, unless they are UK or Irish nationals/residents.

Sri Lanka, Japan, Iran, Morocco and Brazil are the other countries that have issued a ban on travel from southern African countries.


Which countries have imposed COVID-19 restrictions?

Concerns of the spread of the virus in Europe have forced some European countries to impose national lockdowns. The countries that have imposed lockdowns so far are:

  • Austria

  • Slovakia

  • Germany

  • Russia

  • Netherlands

  • Portugal

  • Czech Republic

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  South Africa   FAQs   coronavirus 

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