Thailand bans entry from 8 African countries over COVID Omicron variant


FILE PHOTO: Foreign tourists arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport during the first day of the country's reopening campaign, part of the government's plan to jump start the pandemic-hit tourism sector in Bangkok, Thailand November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File Photo

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand said on Saturday it would ban the entry of people travelling from eight African countries it designated as high-risk for the new Omicron https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/japan-tighten-border-controls-s-africa-others-new-virus-variant-jiji-2021-11-26 variant of COVID-19.

Starting in December, travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, will be prohibited, senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong told a news conference.

Thailand will not allow travellers from these countries to register to travel to Thailand starting on Saturday, he said.

The announcement comes as other countries in Asia tighten borders https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/covid-19-japan-tightens-border-controls-arrivals-six-countries-2021-11-26 over worries about the B 1.1.529 variant. The World Health Organization designated it the latest "variant of concern," saying it may spread more quickly than other forms..

"We have notified airlines and these countries," Opas said adding that travellers from other African countries will not be allowed to use the country's quarantine-free travel scheme for vaccinated travellers.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and William Mallard)

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