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Experts warn holiday tourists ‘omicron wave’ could trigger international travel restrictions

Health experts are warning a new ‘omicron wave’ could cause a large surge in infections across the world in the next month as people are traveling during the holiday season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Health experts are warning a new ‘omicron wave’ could cause a large surge in infections across the world in the next month as people are traveling during the holiday season.

Adrian Hill, the director of the Jenner Institute and one of the developers of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine said the omicron is unique from any other variant scientists have studied thus far.

“Firstly, it has a lot of mutations more than in any other strain that we’ve been worried about. So that’s bad news for a possible Omicron wave,” said Vaccinology Professor Adrian Hill.

To protect yourself from the newest variant, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Doctor Anthony Fauci says to get vaccinated, take boosters, and wear a mask if you choose to congregate at a large indoor venue, such as the airport.

“There’s every reason to believe that if you get vaccinated and boosted, that you would have some degree of cross-protection very likely against severe disease and even against the omicron variant,” Fauci said.

The arrival of the highly-mutated omicron variant in the U.S. shouldn’t cancel end-of-year holiday plans for fully vaccinated Americans traveling within the country, the nation’s top doctor said.

“If you are vaccinated and your family is vaccinated, enjoy the holidays,” said Fauci said.

The World Health Organization issued recommendations that the follow demographics avoid international travel:

  • Unvaccinated people
  • People who haven’t gotten COVID-19
  • Anyone with underlying conditions that put them at increased risk of severe COVID symptoms
  • Individuals over 60 years old

Even before the omicron variant, the CDC recommended delaying travel plans until you’re fully vaccinated. This rule is still encouraged even more so now.

If you’re traveling internationally for the holidays, also be mindful of that country’s coronavirus protocols-- and that the protocols could change while you are there.

The US is requiring negative COVID-19 tests for international travelers within one day of entering the country.


About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.