COVID-19 VARIANT SCARE TRIGGERS MORE TRAVEL CURBS ON AFRICA
The Sunday Guardian|November 28, 2021
Although epidemiologists say travel curbs may be too late to stop Omicron from circulating globally, many countries around the world announced travel bans or restrictions on southern Africa.

Australia and several other countries joined nations imposing restrictions on travel from southern Africa on Saturday after the discovery of the new Omicron coronavirus variant sparked global concern and triggered a market sell-off.

Meanwhile, authorities in Amsterdam said that 61 out of around 600 people who arrived in the Dutch city on two flights from South Africa on Friday had tested positive for coronavirus. Health authorities were carrying out further tests to see if those cases involved the new variant.

Omicron, dubbed a "variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, is potentially more contagious than previous variants of the disease.

It was first discovered in South Africa and has since been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel and Hong Kong.

A minister in the German state of Hesse said on Saturday that the variant had very probably arrived in Germany, in a traveller returning from South Africa. Czech health authorities said they were examining a suspected case of the variant in a person who spent time in Namibia.

Financial markets plunged on Friday, especially stocks of airlines and others in the travel sector, as investors worried the variant could cause another surge in the pandemic and stall a global recovery. Oil prices tumbled by about $10 a barrel.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) closed down 2.5%, its worst day since late October 2020, and European stocks (.STOXX) had their worst day in 17 months.

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