WHO warns against imposing travel restrictions due to new variant

A logo is pictured at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, June 25, 2020. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse / File Photo

GENEVA, NOVEMBER 26 (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday warned countries against the rapid imposition of travel restrictions on the new B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19, saying they should take a “risk-based and scientific approach “.

“At this time, there is a warning against implementing travel measures,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a UN briefing in Geneva. “The WHO recommends that countries continue to apply a risk-based and scientific approach when implementing travel measures.”

The WHO, which has convened an expert meeting on Friday to assess whether it represents a variant of interest or a variant of concern, will share further guidance to governments on action they can take, he said.

It will take a few weeks to understand the impact of the variant, and researchers are working to determine how transmissible it is and how it will affect therapy and vaccines, he added.

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Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Edited by Alison Williams

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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