Aviation authority wants to suspend flights from 10 African countries over Omicron
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A computer screen for monitoring passengers' body temperatures at Da Nang International Airport in central Vietnam, September 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam on Friday recommended the suspension of all flights from 10 African countries as a safeguard against the new Omicron variant of Covid-19.
It urged the Ministry of Transport to ground all flights, including humanitarian purposes, from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Angola, and Zambia, and ban the entry of passengers who passed through these countries in the previous 30 days.
It also wanted all passengers coming from countries and territories with the Omicron variant to be quarantined on arrival in Vietnam.
First reported in southern Africa two weeks ago, Omicron, which the World Health Organization has termed a "variant of concern," has spread to at least 40 countries.
According to scientists, it is the most mutated variant so far and could spread faster and pose a higher risk of reinfection than other strains.
Many countries around the world have tightened entry restrictions or shut their borders.
The Health Ministry proposed suspension of flights to and from several southern African countries last Sunday.
Vietnam has not detected any cases of Omicron so far, but is seeing a steady rise in Delta infections.
Vietnam plans to resume international flights in early 2022, but the ministry has said the emergence of Omicron could throw a wrench in the works.