“Prepare for the worst, hope for the best!”
Omicron or B.1.1.529, the latest version of Covid 19 was first discovered in South Africa. The big news came on November 26 when the WHO declared Omicron a “variant of concern“. Omicron’s version of Covid-19 continues to spread around the world, with new infections found in countries such as the United States, Norway, Ireland, and South Korea. Australia’s chief medical officer said there was no evidence that Omicron was more deadly than other types of Covid because all cases reported so far were either very mild or asymptomatic. Today the chief scientist of WHO said the vaccine would likely protect against severe cases of the variant.
The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recovery has “lost momentum” as it has dampened the outlook for leading economies, including the United States, China, and the Eurozone. Yesterday the OECD warned that the variant was threatening the global economic recovery. It has lowered its growth forecast for 2021. And called for a faster rollout of a Covid vaccine.
In all this, we have seen a few categories, like ‘at risk’ countries. For those of you who don’t know what does this means, the list of countries where omicron has been found or has a high risk to be found. The Indian government made a list for current ‘at risk’ countries- the UK, South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Israel.
Similarly, today Maharashtra Govt. also created another category ‘ultra risk’. Countries that come under this category are- South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, and Lesotho.
Omicron Impact – International flight ban remains in effect in India
Regular international flights will no longer start on December 15. This is mainly due to the fear of the Omicron variant. Just a week ago the government announced it would resume international flights and we will soon see otherwise.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation said: “Given the evolving global scenario with the emergence of new options that raise concerns, the situation will be closely monitored in consultation with all stakeholders and appropriate decisions will be taken to indicate flight dates. Commercial international passenger transport services must be reported in a timely manner.” Operations were discontinued on March 20, 2020.
We all know the impact of 1st and 2nd waves. Industries are trying to come out from that devastating moment, especially the travels or the aerospace industry. Companies had to and will have to operate under the norms given by the Government. I feel we need to be vigilant and careful, we all have seen the consequences of taking such things for granted. But at the same time, we can’t overreact. Any unnecessary panic situation will make a more difficult situation for the companies and Govt as well. As I said before Australia’s CMO said, they couldn’t find any evidence that Omicron is deadlier than the other variant of Covid 19.
Although from the month of October domestic flights are allowed to operate in 100 percent capacity. It was a big relief for Indian Aerospace Industries. We hope soon this one also will be solved and international flights will resume the operation.
The Omicron Effect in Other Parts of the World
Stricter rules apply to passengers traveling to the United States. It is also being used to test for Covid-19 to slow the spread of the Omicron variant. Japan continued its aggressive stance on the new version of the coronavirus on Wednesday, urging international airlines not to accept new bookings for all flights arriving in the country until the end of December and further tightening already tight border controls. The Department of Transportation said the request was a precautionary measure amid growing concerns about the launch of a new version of Omicron. The world’s third-largest economy, coupled with a recent ban on foreign visitors, is one of the toughest and closer to China’s remote neighbors than some of the region’s other democracies.
Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Ghana, South Korea and, Norway were also reported the same lately. The UK has reported 22 cases so far and the number is sure to rise. Hong Kong has added Japan, Portugal, and Sweden to its travel restrictions, while Uzbekistan has announced that it will suspend flights to Hong Kong and South Africa. Malaysia has temporarily banned travel from eight African countries. Also said that there is a high chance that Britain and the Netherlands could join the list.
When the global economy was just starting to operate at ease, Omicron could bring a pause again. Industries are yet to reach the pre-pandemic levels. This could increase the supply side shortage and we will see more inflation. As of now, clear communication will be beneficial as we all have limited information about the variant. And countries can take measures according to that, other than reacting more than required or vice versa.
Read what WHO has said till now about Omicron