WHO urges countries to recommend all travellers to wear masks

WHO urges countries to recommend all travellers to wear masks.
WHO urges countries to recommend all travellers to wear masks. Photo by Yaroslav-Astakhov Shutterstock.com

After the spike of the new COVID variant XBB.1.5 in the US, WHO urges countries to start recommending masks for all passengers travelling on long-haul flight 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that all countries should recommend passengers travelling in long haul flights to wear masks after the recent spike of cases in the US. 

According to a report in Reuters on Tuesday, January 9, the WHO made the announcement at a recent press briefing. It announced that the XBB.1.5 variant had been detected in Europe in smaller numbers, the recent statistics suggest that it is growing.  

A statement by Catherine Smallwood, WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, in the report said, “Passengers should be advised to wear masks in high-risk settings such as long-haul flights”, adding “this should be a recommendation issued to passengers arriving from anywhere where there is widespread COVID-19 transmission”. 

Smallwood also said, “Countries need to look at the evidence base for pre-departure testing” and if action is considered, “travel measures should be implemented in a non-discriminatory manner”. 

The XBB.1.5 variant has been reported to be the most transmissible subvariant of Omicron detected until now. This variant accounts for over 27.6 percent of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., during the first week of 2023, as per local US health officials.  

Experts say the present vaccines are continuing to protect people against severe symptoms such as hospitalisation or death.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, do remember to come back and check out the EuroNews247 website for all your up-to-date European news stories.