In truth, journey bans don’t remedy the issue—they simply postpone it, says Raghib Ali, an epidemiologist on the College of Cambridge, UK. Higher testing is a much more efficient measure.
“We’d like a balanced and proportional response. Meaning no journey bans, however testing and quarantine for individuals coming from nations the place omicron is circulating,” says Ali.
The journey bans may have one other detrimental knock-on impact: slicing South Africa off from the scientific provides it must do the genomic surveillance that would elucidate the impression of omicron in real-world settings. Tulio de Oliveira, a bioinformatician on the College of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, informed Nature: “By subsequent week, if nothing adjustments, we’ll run out of sequencing reagents.”
The larger concern is that the therapy of southern African nations will lead different nations to conclude that in case you detect a brand new variant, it’s finest to maintain it to your self.
“They see others getting penalized for recognizing a brand new variant, and that may put them off sharing the info we’d like. That’s not a theoretical risk; it’s very actual,” says Ali.
Omicron received’t be the final variant of concern. When the following one hits, we’d like nations to share what they know as quickly as doable. Blanket journey bans put that openness at risk.
“Putting in journey bans that focus on Africa assaults world solidarity,” mentioned Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, in a press release final week.