WHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron variant

With the rise of the new omicron variant, the World Health Organization announced in a news release on Tuesday that some people should postpone travel.

The WHO also noted that the variant is still being studied and carries a higher number of mutations compared to earlier COVID-19 strains. Health officials have continued to monitor the progression and spread of the new variant and have advised people to wear masks, adhere to social distancing, and get vaccinated and booster shots.

Additionally, according to the WHO, “persons who are unwell or at risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes), should be advised to postpone travel.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that those aged 65 to 74 account for 21 percent of all deaths by COVID-19 in the U.S., a percentage that grows as age demographics increase.

This is the first age-specific recommendation to come down from a health organization since omicron was first considered to be a concern last week. The WHO emphasized that those 60 years old and older have been targeted through the pandemic since their risk of severe illness and disease is higher.

Due to the increased presence of the omicron variant, several countries hastily implemented travel bans for international travelers from Southern African countries and other locations where omicron cases have been identified.

President Biden also announced travel restrictions from South Africa and other countries. The South African doctor, Angelique Coetzee, who discovered the omicron variant said the symptoms were “extremely mild,” and said initial patients described being fatigued with body aches and a headache. She added that patients had a scratchy throat rather than a sore throat, and they did not develop a cough or loss of smell or taste.

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