Home World News WHO Backs Mask Wearing on Long Flights as New Omicron Variant Spreads

WHO Backs Mask Wearing on Long Flights as New Omicron Variant Spreads

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WHO Backs Mask Wearing on Long Flights as New Omicron Variant Spreads

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Last Updated: January 10, 2023, 18:46 IST

Many scientists – including from the WHO – believe China is likely under-reporting the true extent of its outbreak.

 (Photo: Reuters)

Many scientists – together with from the WHO – consider China is probably going under-reporting the true extent of its outbreak.

(Photo: Reuters)

XBB.1.5 is one more descendant of Omicron, essentially the most contagious – and now globally dominant – variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is an offshoot of XBB, first detected in October, which is itself a recombinant of two different Omicron subvariants

Countries ought to take into account recommending passengers put on masks on long-haul flights to counter the most recent Omicron subvariant of COVID-19 given its fast unfold within the United States, World Health Organization (WHO) officers stated on Tuesday.

In Europe, the XBB.1.5 subvariant is being detected in small however rising numbers, WHO/Europe officers stated at a press briefing.

Passengers needs to be suggested to put on masks in high-risk settings such as long-haul flights, stated the WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, including: “this needs to be a advice issued to passengers arriving from wherever the place there may be widespread COVID-19 transmission”.

XBB.1.5 – the most transmissible Omicron subvariant that has been detected so far – accounted for 27.6% of COVID-19 cases in the United States for the week ending Jan. 7, U.S. health officials have said.

It remains unclear if XBB.1.5 will cause its own wave of infections around the world. Current vaccines continue to protect against severe symptoms, hospitalisation and death, experts say.

“Countries need to look at the evidence base for pre-departure testing”, Smallwood added, saying it was essential to not focus completely on one explicit geographic space.

If motion is taken into account, she stated, “our opinion is that journey measures needs to be carried out in a non-discriminatory method”.

That did not mean the agency recommended testing for passengers coming from the United States at this stage, she added.

Measures that can be taken include genomic surveillance, and targeting passengers arriving from other countries as long as it does not divert resources away from domestic surveillance systems. Others include wastewater monitoring systems around points of entry, such as airports.

XBB.1.5 is yet another descendant of Omicron, the most contagious – and now globally dominant – variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. It is an offshoot of XBB, first detected in October, which is itself a recombinant of two other Omicron subvariants.

Concerns about XBB.1.5 fuelling a fresh spate of cases in the United States and beyond are on the rise at the same time as a surge of COVID cases in China, after the country pivoted away from its signature “zero COVID” coverage final month.

According to information reported by the WHO earlier this month, an evaluation by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed a predominance of Omicron sublineages BA.5.2 and BF.7 amongst domestically acquired infections.

Many scientists – together with from the WHO – consider China is probably going under-reporting the true extent of its outbreak.

More than a dozen nations – together with the United States – are demanding COVID exams from travellers from China.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 workers and is revealed from a syndicated information company feed)

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