Grenada on Friday became the first CARICOM country to impose a ban on passengers from several African nations as a result of a new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron', that has caused global concern.
According to a statement from the government, the measures which take immediate effect says persons with a travel history in the last 14 days to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini will not be allowed into Grenada.
Identified earlier this week, the Omicron variant has been designated a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) which uses a Greek-letter system to name new strains of the virus which the organization says the variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning.
The WHO disclosed that preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of re-infection with this variant.
This restriction will be applied to travelers coming from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe said Minister Head of the Civil House, Ciro Nogueira. According to Nogueira, this decision was jointly made by the Civil House and the ministries of Infrastructure, Health, Justice and Public Security.
He said that “Brazil will close air borders to six African countries due to the new coronavirus variant. We are going to protect Brazilians in this new phase of the pandemic in that country. The ordinance will be published tomorrow (on Saturday) and should take effect from Monday.”
According to certain medical literature, the B.1.1.529 variant is alarming because it has 50 mutations, something unprecedented, more than 30 in the Spike S protein, “the key” used by the virus to enter the cells and the goal of most Covid-19 vaccines.