mandag 6. desember 2021

Asia-Pacific wants to live with Covid. Omicron is threatening those reopening plans

Little is known about the potential dangers posed by the Omicron coronavirus variant but concern over its spread is already threatening to wreck reopening plans in Asia-Pacific. After more than 20 months of strict border controls and restrictions on daily life, many countries in the region had tentatively started to loosen up and live with Covid -- months after their European and North American counterparts fully reopened. But it took only a matter of days to change that.

Last month, after South African scientists detected a new variant, dozens of nations imposed travel bans on visitors from several southern African countries. Some countries in Asia-Pacific have gone further by extending mandatory quarantines or shutting their borders to almost all foreign travelers.
Scientists in the United States say it will take at least two weeks to know more about how the variant impacts vaccine efficacy and Covid treatments. As public health experts wait for the data, governments across the Asia-Pacific region aren't taking any risks. Many are acting quickly over concerns the new Omicron variant could spread into their territories, even in places with already-strict border rules or high vaccination rates.