Hazardous Covid-19 Variant Omicron Puts Travel in a Bind

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Omicron Worries Expressed

According to the World Health Organization, the first sample of the Covid-19 variant Omicron was taken back on the 9th of November and people took notice due to the surge that took place in South Africa. With variants sprouting up randomly, WHO determines those most significantly posing risk to us and those less pressing. This recent variant has caught the organization’s attention in a bad way.

An article posted by CNN, “Coronavirus variants: Here’s what we know“, stated that WHO has only listed five as current variants of concern:

  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gamma
  • Delta
  • Omicron

This new variant is troubling because of how quickly it spread and the unknown effect of its mutation that may allow it to more effectively attach itself to our cells. Though if the Delta variants’ similar mutation is any indication, then it could quickly climb the ranks of variants to be concerned with. Mutations of the other variants presented their own issues as illustrated in the article posted by CNN, a mutation called E484K made the virus slightly less recognizable to some antibodies and one called N501Y actually made Alpha and Gamma more transmissible.

As evidence to the World Health Organizations’ cause for concern, Omicron has so far been detected by 17 countries. CNN cited the GISAID Database and stated those detections span over South Africa, Botswana, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, the UK, Italy, Israel, and Austria. Leading to new regulations to be set in place.

Travel Rebound Ordered to Ground

Almost 2 years into the pandemic initiated by Covid-19, there have been almost regular interruptions in airliners’ ability to keep passengers traveling. In past times the high cost could keep passengers from purchasing tickets, but health concerns have proven to override the instinct to pounce on even the most amazing deal. Over the pandemic, we saw the price of tickets drop ridiculously low as airliners simply tried to entice people to fill up their planes.

Even this would not work and those empty aircraft would be sent to hangars due to such a low volume of passengers looking to travel. In the beginning, this was a good opportunity for an aircraft to get some repairs done or even use a servicing company like AMI Aero Marine Interior, Inc. to customize the interior, but now companies just want to taxi back to pre-pandemic volume.

The industry actually experienced periods of recoupment. For example, as we gained a better understanding of the virus and got more comfortable or as the vaccination rolled out and people felt increasingly secure. Then the variants like Omicron spring up, scaring the public, and leaving the industry to backslide.

Presently, the new variant has caused several nations including the United States to ban visitors from South Africa and a few neighboring countries, according to New York Times article “Airlines were seeing a travel rebound before Omicron arrived“. Japan, Israel, and Morocco have actually barred all incoming foreign visitors. These decisions have caused controversy as to whether or not the recent tightening of restrictions was unreasonable.

The same New York Times article continued by highlighting two United States carriers that still have routes to South Africa, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. These airliners have stated that they do not plan on changing schedules in light of the recent ban put in place. Though the current environment remains volatile and this ever-changing climate has been keeping Companies on their toes.

Though it is important to reconnect the world as soon as possible, it goes without saying that it must be done safely. We must take the time to observe what these variants like Omicron are capable of and proceed accordingly.

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