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WHO urges travelers to wear masks over new Covid variant


Kabul: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said countries should consider recommending that passengers wear masks on long-haul flights, given the rapid spread of the latest Omicron subvariant of Covid-19 in the United States, according to the news agency Reuters.

Addressing a press briefing here, the WHO and Europe officials said the XBB.1.5 subvariant was detected in small but growing numbers in Europe.

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

XBB.1.5 – the most transmissible Omicron subvariant detected so far – accounted for 27.6% of Covid-19 cases in the United States for the week ended January 7.

The World Health Organization has said that it is not known that this subvariant can increase the risk of an epidemic in the whole world, but the use of masks is still recommended.

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