Kazakhstan suspends flights with Egypt over Omicron variant
Kazakhstan has suspended flights with Egypt, a popular holiday destination for residents of the central Asian nation, citing a case of the Omicron variant of coronavirus found in Belgium in a passenger arriving from the African country.
The Nur-Sultan government added that it would curb entry for citizens of a number of other African nations, as well as Hong Kong, and screen arrivals from countries where the variant has been reported.
The World Health Organization warned on Monday that the new Covid-19 variant posed a "very high" risk globally, despite uncertainties about the danger and contagion levels of the new strain.
The UN health agency said the Covid strain first discovered in southern Africa was a "highly divergent variant with a high number of mutations... some of which are concerning and may be associated with immune escape potential and higher transmissibility".
"The likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron at the global level is high," WHO cautioned in a technical note.
To date, no deaths connected with the Omicron variant have been reported, it added. However, a growing list of countries have already imposed travel restrictions on Africa, including the US, UK, and many Arab states.