As the recently discovered covid-19 variant has been raising concerns around the globe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked for a review of the decision to ease international travel from government officials. The new variant known as B.1.1.529 or Omicron has emerged in the past few weeks and is considered to be highly transmissible. Airlines and countries around the world are already on a high alert and are considering changing their guidelines in regard to international travel.
The Ongoing Scenario
This decision from Prime Minister to review the easing international travel restrictions in a meeting which was held to discuss the vaccination drive in the country and how prepared the country is to deal with the concerning Omicron Variant. The meeting was reportedly two hours long and quite intensive.
The reports have suggested that the new Omicron variant has more than 32 mutations which can cause a widespread. Officials have already informed the prime minister about the same and the impacts it could create in India in the foreseeable future. The prime minister has also emphatically made the decision to be proactive in this situation.
Earlier India had announced the resumption of international travel from December 15; however, restrictions have been imposed on air travel to and from the 16 countries that are supposedly at more risk of infections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also mandated the monitoring of international arrivals as per the regulations especially from the countries at “risk.”
World Health Organization has raised its concerns over the new variant which it believes could be highly transmissible. WHO in a statement said that the preliminary study on the variant suggests that it has increased chances of infection as compared to other concerning variants. The new Omicron variant was first discovered by South African scientists on November 9 and was reported to the WHO on November 24. Countries like the U.K., the US, and the Netherlands have already taken aggressive measures by banning passengers from the countries in Africa.