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Oman bans flights from 7 African nations after Omicron outbreak


MUSCAT: The Supreme Committee on Covid-19 pandemic banned entry to the Sultanate of Oman travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique as well as other travellers who have passed through these countries over the past 14 days, from 8 am on Sunday until further notice after the outbreak of new coronavirus variant in these countries.

The decision excludes Omanis, diplomats, medical professionals and their families and citizens of the aforementioned countries who have valid residence in the Sultanate of Oman. All passengers exempted from the entry ban including Omanis, will be subject to PCR test upon arrival in addition to a seven-day institutional quarantine and a second PCR test on the sixth day of the quarantine.

The Supreme Committee on Saturday urged all citizens and residents to avoid travelling unless for extreme necessity during the upcoming period.

The Supreme Committee reviewed reports on the spread of a new extremely dangerous variant of coronavirus in these African countries, and discussed ways of protecting the people from the new strain of coronavirus. It also reviewed the steps, which led to the fall in the number of coronavirus cases and inpatients.

Meanwhile, the British scientist who led the research underpinning AstraZeneca’s coronavirus jab said on Saturday a new vaccine could be developed against the emerging Omicron variant “very rapidly” if needed.

Professor Andrew Pollard, the director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, also said existing vaccines should work against the new strain, but that would only become apparent after more research in the coming weeks.

“It’s extremely unlikely that a reboot of a pandemic in a vaccinated population like we saw last year (with the Delta variant) is going to happen’’, he told BBC radio.

But if required, “The processes of how one goes about developing a new vaccine are increasingly well-oiled, so if it’s needed that is something that could be moved very rapidly.”

— ONA and AFP

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