Thailand has joined the EU, UK, and the USA in banning people traveling from eight South African countries over the new omicron variant. The US announced its ban early on Saturday.
Travelers from Botswana; Eswatini; Lesotho; Malawi; Mozambique, Namibia; South Africa, and Zimbabwe, will be prohibited, Thailand’s Disease Control Department told a news conference.
People who have just arrived from these countries will also be placed in a 14-day quarantine starting Saturday.
Presently no cases of the new omicron covid-19 variant have been detected in Thailand.
Thailand’s Prime Minister has instructed the government to increase vigilance against the new covid-19 variant.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Gen Prayut said in a Facebook post that if there’s an urgent need for the government to adjust control measures against this new variant, he would order agencies to act immediately.
This new strain will be closely monitored to see how it impacts Thailand and tourism, he said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) first received a report of this variant on 24 November 2021 from South Africa. In South Africa, the epidemiological situation has been characterized by three distinct peaks in reported cases, the latest being predominantly associated with the Delta variant.
The number of infections has spiked recently, coinciding with the discovery of variant B.1.1.529. A specimen collected on 9 November 2021 is the first known to be infected with B.1.1.529 omicron covid-19 variant.
Many mutations are present in this variant, some of which are concerning. Based on preliminary evidence, this variant appears to be more likely to reinfect than other VOCs. This variant is increasingly prevalent in nearly all provinces of South Africa.