Vaccinate the World: W.H.O. Says Jabs Not Border Restrictions Key to Battling Omicron

Workers give finishing touches to a huge mural made on the facade of the Tambaram railway station, to create awareness and promote Covid-19 coronavirus vaccination in Chennai on July 4, 2021. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP) (Photo by ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has a plan to save the planet from disaster. It urged countries Friday to step up their drive to vaccinate everyone and stem a coronavirus surge driven by the Omicron variant, adding travel curbs and border controls are not the answer.

Omicron has gained a foothold in Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Europe and has reached seven of the nine provinces of South Africa, where it was first identified last month.

In response many governments have tightened travel rules aimed at African departure points to keep the variant out, but the W.H.O. is keen on more jabs and boosters for everyone.

“Border controls can buy time but every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases,” Takeshi Kasai, the W.H.O.’s western Pacific director, told a media briefing.

“People should not only rely on border measures. What is most important is to prepare for these variants with potential high transmissibility. So far the information available suggests we don’t have to change our approach.”

Reuters reports Kasai urged countries to fully vaccinate vulnerable groups and stick to preventive measures such as mask wearing and social distancing.

In the United States, the Biden administration has already announced measures to guard against the virus spreading, as Breitbart News reported.

The president asked everyone on Thursday to roll up their sleeves another time this winter as enhanced distribution of jabs and vaccines become more widely available in most – but by all means not all – states.

Biden is not yet moving to impose additional restrictions beyond his recommendation Americans wear masks indoors in public settings.

From Monday, international air travellers arriving in the United States will have to have obtained a negative coronavirus test within a day of travel.

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