By NewsDesk  @bactiman63 

The new coronavirus variant Omicron (B.1.1.529) observed in southern Africa is causing changes in health security measures at border crossing points. The changes are effective as November 27, 2021.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Under section 16 of the Communicable Diseases Act, regional administrations may impose a compulsory health check on all passengers who have stayed in the last 14 days in countries where the spread of the omicron variant has been detected. These countries are South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini (Swaziland), Mozambique and Malawi .

The regulation does not apply to children under 6 years of age. The regulations of the regional government agencies are valid from 27 November 2021 to 31 December 2021.

It is up to the passengers to make sure that the order applies to them. Instructions can be found on the websites of the regional administrations or at the health authorities at the point of entry.

Both the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have added a new variant of the omicron virus to the list of variants of concern (VOC). The variant has been found to have several changes in the coronavirus peak protein. The changes are expected to increase the ability of the virus to spread and to bypass the immune protection provided by existing vaccines. THL monitors variant distribution.

Those who have already returned to Finland from southern African countries should apply for a coronavirus test

THL urges to avoid all travel to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatin (Swaziland), Mozambique and Malawi .

In addition, THL recommends that all those who have already come to Finland within the last 14 days from the countries listed above apply for a coronavirus test, regardless of whether they have received a coronavirus vaccine.

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They are also recommended to avoid social contact until they have had a negative test result. In addition, the THL recommends that those close to them enter the coronavirus test, regardless of the vaccines received, if they develop even mild symptoms suggestive of a coronavirus infection.

In general, it is good to remember that there are now more risks than usual when traveling, as the epidemic situation and restrictions in different countries can change quickly.

“Information about new virus variants is usually delayed. For this reason, it is very important that passengers who have already arrived in Finland also apply for the tests. The aim of efficient testing is to prevent the spread of the omicron virus variant to Finland, ”says Jari Jalava , a leading expert at THL.