The statement read: “Persons who have not been fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and are at increased risk of developing severe disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities that present increased risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes) should be advised to postpone travel to areas with community transmission.”
The UK joined other countries in imposing a travel ban on South Africa.
However, blanket travel bans will not prevent the global spread of the Omicron variant - the WHO has warned in their latest advice.
It added: “Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data.
“All countries should ensure that the measures are regularly reviewed and updated when new evidence becomes available on the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of Omicron or any other VOC...
“Essential international travel –including travel for emergency and humanitarian missions, travel of essential personnel, repatriations and cargo transport of essential supplies–should continue to be prioritized at all times during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In addition, all travellers should be reminded to remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, to get vaccinated when it is their turn and to adhere to public health and social measures at all times and regardless of vaccination status, including by using masks appropriately, respecting physical distancing, following good respiratory etiquette and avoiding crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.”
The Prime Minister outlined the target to have offered everyone over 18 a booster jab by the end of January.