Tehran (IP)- Iran joins other countries in restricting flights from African countries over concerns about the new variant of COVID-19.

Iran PressIran news: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new variant "of concern," naming it Omicron.

The Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on 24 November and has since been identified in other countries.

The WHO on Friday said preliminary evidence suggested the new variant carried a higher risk of reinfection than other variants.

In response to the possibility of the spread of the new variant through international flights, the Iranian Aviation Organization announced: There will be no direct flights from African countries to Iran, and until further notice, the acceptance of passengers from these countries is prohibited.

Following the spread of the new coronavirus variant in some African countries, until further notice and elimination of the new variant, passengers from countries such as South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini will be banned.

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US officials have also said flights from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi will be blocked, mirroring earlier moves taken by the EU. The ban will come into effect on Monday.

In a statement, President Joe Biden called the move a "precautionary measure" taken until more is known about the variant.

Canada is also shutting its borders to foreign travelers who have recently been to South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. Foreign citizens will be banned from Canada if they have been to the seven nations in the past 14 days.

Scientists have said it is the most heavily mutated version yet, which means Covid vaccines, designed using the original strain from Wuhan, China, may not be as effective. 


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