Omicron Alert: International Travel Plans Go Haywire, Domestic Sector Not Heavily Impacted

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To travel or not to travel – that still remains the question.

This uncertainty & travelers’ anxiety is what we have observed in the age of COVID-19.

And now that new variant – Omicron is here, travelers around the world are reminded that the pandemic roller-coaster ride is far from over.

It is still unknown whether Omicron, which has been identified in at least 20 countries, is more severe or more transmissible than other forms of the coronavirus.

Is Travel Getting Affected Due To The New Variant Omicron?

Rajiv Mehra, President, IATO told NewsMobile that “domestic travel is not getting affected but international travel is since people coming to India from Europe and other high-risk countries do not want to quarantine for that long. No tourist wants to quarantine for 7 days. That’s what is creating a dent in the bookings. Some are still coming in, the majority are cancelling because of restrictions.”

Should You Plan a Trip?

Courtney Niebrzydowski, an international travel risk analyst at the University of Denver told the New York Times that people should ask themselves two primary questions when they consider traveling: 1. Can this travel be postponed? and 2. How flexible can you be?

She also urges people to think through all the scenarios that could emerge if they travel — like testing positive, facing a canceled return flight or learning last minute that their destination country has expanded its quarantine requirement — and map out detailed contingency plans, including costs, missed obligations and how to approach health care. Often, she said, after going through this exercise, people have “less appetite for travel.”

Apex Health Bodies On Travel In Times of COVID

The C.D.C. advises against international travel until a person is fully vaccinated.

The World Health Organization recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated, have not previously been infected, are 60 years or older or have comorbidities such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes should postpone travel to areas with community transmission.

Travel For People Who Are Immuno-Compromised

Jessica Herzstein, a physician who advises organizations on how to manage the coronavirus and other health risks, including those associated with travel, told the New York Times that she discourages anyone who is unvaccinated or immune-compromised from traveling. She also advises travelers going to destinations with a particularly high prevalence of cases to consider canceling.

The Type of Mask You Wear During Travel Is Important

David Freedman, the president-elect of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said that the type of mask one wears while traveling is particularly important. Dr. Freedman discourages people from wearing cloth or homemade masks; N95 or KN95 masks are preferable, he said.

(With Agency Inputs)

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