The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday cautioned countries against hastily imposing travel restrictions linked to the new B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19, saying they should take a “risk-based and scientific approach”.
“At this point, implementing travel measures is being cautioned against,” WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a U.N. briefing in Geneva. “The WHO recommends that countries continue to apply a risk-based and scientific approach when implementing travel measures.”
The WHO, which has convened an experts’ meeting on Friday to evaluate whether it constitutes a variant of interest or a variant of concern, will share further guidance for governments on action they can take, he said.
It will take a few weeks to understand the variant’s impact, and researchers are working to determine how transmissible it is and how it will affect therapeutics and vaccines, he added.