In view of the spread of Omicron variant of the last coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has emphasized on wearing masks. On Tuesday (January 10), World Health Organization officials said passengers on long-haul flights should use masks due to the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
World Health Organization officials said in a press briefing that the number of people infected with XBB.1.5 in Europe is low but is constantly increasing. But Catherine Smallwood, the WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, said passengers should be advised to wear masks in high-risk settings such as long-haul flights. Recommendations should be issued for travelers arriving from areas where the spread of the coronavirus is high.
XBB.1.5 is the most prevalent subtype of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Health officials said that as of January 7, 27.6% of US Covid-positive samples were infected with this strain.
It is still uncertain whether the XBB.1.5 strain of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus will cause a new wave worldwide. However, the vaccine against the coronavirus has so far been quite effective against this strain.
Smallwood said countries need to look at the evidence base for pre-departure screening of passengers. If action is considered, travel arrangements should be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. But that doesn’t mean the agency has now recommended testing for travelers from the United States.
Other measures include monitoring wastewater around entry points to places like airports.
The XBB.1.5 variant was first detected in October last year. It is itself a recombinant of two other subtypes of Omicron. Currently, this strain of the novel coronavirus is the most infectious worldwide.