US issues new guidelines for foreign visitors as Omicron cases surge

In the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong and Japan said that they will increase travel restrictions, while Australia was ready for additional Omicron cases after at least two people visited multiple areas in the country’s largest city while likely infected.

Travel to the United States via air will be more difficult. COVID-19 testing criteria were implemented when numerous countries pushed to close their borders due to rising concerns about the Omicron variant’s pathogenicity and ability to evade existing vaccines.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Hong Kong and Japan said that they will increase travel restrictions, while Australia was ready for additional Omicron cases after at least two people visited multiple areas in the country’s largest city while likely infected.

The World Health Organization has urged governments to use “an evidence-informed and risk-based approach” to travel restrictions in order to avoid rash global border restrictions. Bans on all travel will not stop the disease from spreading, and they will “impose a significant burden on lives and livelihoods,” according to the WHO.

According to the WHO, more than 50 nations had implemented travel restrictions aimed at delaying the import of Omicron as of Nov 28. Even as financial markets recovered from the day’s lows, investors remained on edge on Wednesday, as the CEO of Moderna (MRNA.O) raised doubts about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against Omicron.

Since then, international health officials have sought to reassure the public and reaffirmed demands for vaccinations. “Even if the new variation spreads, the vaccines we have will continue to provide protection,” said Emer Cooke, Executive Director of the European Medicines Agency.

Cooke said laboratory tests should show whether vaccinated people’s blood has enough antibodies to neutralise the new variety in the next two weeks, echoing comments from vaccine maker BioNTech and scientists. The vaccine BioNTech is developing in collaboration with Pfizer (PFE.N) is expected to provide excellent protection against severe Omicron illness, according to its CEO.

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