The new variant of Covid-19 recently discovered by South African scientists have been renamed ‘Omnicron’ by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The world health body said in a statement on Friday that the “recently-discovered B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19 is to be a variant of great concern, hence renaming it Omicron.”
“Based on the evidence presented indicative of a detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology, the WHO has designated B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern, named Omicron,” the UN health agency said in a statement.
In the interim, EU officials have been holding emergency meetings over the variant and agreed to urge all 27 nations in the bloc to restrict travel from regions where the strain is likely to mutate faster.
“Member States agreed to introduce rapidly restrictions on all travel into the EU from seven countries in the Southern Africa region: Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe,” European Commission spokesman Eric Mamer tweeted.
“This is not a formal decision but a recommendation. It is up to each member state to take its own decisions,” an EU official.
Many EU member states had already gone ahead with flight suspensions from some or all of the seven African countries while others are expected to follow suit over coming days.
Another EU official said diplomats and officials meeting in Brussels under the EU’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) mechanism opted to emphasise “restrictions” over travel suspensions.
That is because EU citizens and residents were allowed to return to their home countries, though will likely face PCR tests and quarantine on arrival while non-EU citizens and residents would be barred from travelling into the EU under the agreed recommendation.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
FEATURES: Rise in Monkeypox infection troubling Nigeria’s rural population
In this features, KELECHUKWU IRUOMA goes into the rural communities of Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria to uncover the plight of...
SPECIAL REPORT: Kwara communities groan as erosion washes away roads, property
For a number of years communities in Ilorin South LGA of Kwara State have had to live with the menace...
SPECIAL REPORT: Lack of legal provisions, cultural sentiments fueling marital r*pe in Nigeria
By Arinze Chijioke In the early days of Sandra Izuckukwu’s marriage in 2019, her husband, Sunday Izuchukwu, did everything she...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (IV): Surviving in a dangerous media environment
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019 and 2020. For six...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (III): Precious Owolabi was killed covering a protest
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019-2020. For six months, Nigerian...