According to the top official of the World Health Organization for Europe, travel bans will not stop the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, as Canterbury Archbishop Rowan Williams called for the end of "travel apartheid".
According to reports, 46 countries in the European region have imposed travel restrictions due to the growing number of cases and the possibility that the Omicron variant spreads faster than the Delta variant.
However, Dr Hans Kluge, WHO director for Europe, said bans on incoming flights do not work, as Omicron has already spread across the continent. "Omicron is in sight and spreading, and we are right to be concerned," his remarks read.
The best way to prevent Coronavirus is through vaccinations, masks, ventilation and treatment - not travel restrictions.
As criticisms of the UK's red list ban on 11 African nations grew, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, called for travel restrictions to be lifted, saying that sharing vaccines with other countries was the only way to keep the pandemic at bay.
During his Twitter posting, Welby said: "I agree with the Nigerian High Commissioner to Britain: we cannot have 'travel apartheid'. We must find fair and effective approaches to vaccinations and testing.
In addition, it is morally wrong and self-defeating to punish other nations for being transparent when they discover new Covid variants."
In his opinion, the research on Omicron is preliminary, and there is no definitive information on how vaccines will work to prevent it. "It remains to be seen if any new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, will be more severe and transmittable," Kluge said.
"Five pandemic stabilization strategies" were outlined - increasing vaccination rates, giving booster shots to the most vulnerable, doubling mask use indoors, ventilating crowded spaces, and adopting "rigorous therapeutic protocols" for severe cases.
As the holidays approach, Kluge qqlsaid that closing schools and allowing home learning must be avoided. He also said parents and grandparents are at a 10-fold risk of developing severe diseases after contaminated contact with children.
As part of school protection measures, masks and ventilation should be a standard in all primary schools and vaccinations should be discussed and considered by all governments.
In addition to protecting children from the covid-19 transmission, vaccination also protects them from paediatric severity, including long-term or multi-system inflammatory syndromes."
Vaccines at the population level should only be a last resort, according to Kluge, because whatever measures are taken against Delta will also be beneficial against Omicron.
"Clearly, Omicron has demonstrated the ability to spread rapidly within Delta contexts and within our highly vaccinated context, particularly in gatherings where Covid-19 spreads anyway, so I think we'll see Delta dominant for a while yet," Smallwood said.
As a result, there will be a further spread, but the extent and rapidity of that spread remain to be determined. We will find out in a few weeks."