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.