COVID-19 re-emergence: Saudi bans travel to India, 15 other countries
Saudi Arabia has barred its citizens from traveling to 16 countries, including India, following the re-emergence of COVID-19 cases. Besides India, the 15 other countries where the citizens of Saudi Arabia are banned to travel include Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, and Venezuela, as per Gulf News.
- The decision to impose a travel ban by Saudi comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet.
- Earlier, there has been a drop in cases globally since the peak of the Omicron wave.
- WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned states not to relax their guard in order to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.
According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India registered as many as 2,022 new COVID-19 cases during the past 24 hours. The total number of COVID-19 cases has now reached 4,31,38,393 with 14,832 active cases. The active cases make up about 0.03% of all cases. According to the government figures, 46 fresh fatalities have brought India's COVID-19 death toll to 5,24,459.
Meanwhile, addressing its annual World Health Assembly, the WHO said that "declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus." Notably, officials from several countries had gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO's annual meeting. The WHO also noted that almost one billion people in lower-income countries still haven't been vaccinated.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health has informed the public that no instances of monkeypox have been identified in the country so far. According to Abdullah Asiri, the Kingdom's Deputy Minister of Health for Preventive Health, the country has the ability to monitor and detect any potential monkeypox cases, as well as battle the virus if a new case occurs.
"Until now, cases of transmission between humans are very limited, and therefore the possibility of any [monkeypox] outbreaks occurring from it, even in countries that have detected cases, are very low," Asiri further said.
The WHO has verified 80 cases of monkeypox in 11 countries and is trying to determine the scope and source of the outbreak. According to a statement published by the WHO on Friday, the virus is endemic in some animal populations in a number of countries. However, the disease may result in periodic epidemics among locals and visitors, it warned.