Countries impose travel restrictions to South Africa due to Omicron Covid-19 variant


Sunny Lee, Reporter

As an increasing number of countries brought down their COVID cases, the world began returning to normalcy. However, due to a new variant virus, the Omicron, many nations reimplemented travel restrictions. 


Researchers estimate that the virus emerged in September or October in South Africa. The Omicron virus has already spread to some areas in Europe, though not enough research has been conducted to assess how contagious the new variant is compared to previous ones. 


“With the variant already spreading to Korea, one of my biggest concerns is that the pandemic will be here to stay, and for a while,” Xavier Kim (12), an aware student at SIS, said. “With vaccines not proving effective against them, it makes me wonder if we will ever find a permanent solution to reestablish normalcy once and for all.”


“My plan was to travel to Japan this winter break to finally meet my family, but the Omicron variant is currently a big obstacle. I anticipate that it’ll also make life in Korea more restrictive if it starts spreading across the country. While it is unclear what the future holds, I can say for sure that I wish the variant never showed up,” Xavier said. 


The Korean government recently announced plans to mandate a 10-day quarantine once again for all travelers entering the country. Lots of European countries and the US banned all travels from and to South Africa. 


However, even with the relatively efficient implementation of the policies, South Korea, the US, and European countries reported several cases of Omicron. 


“I do not think we should completely revert back to the strict restrictions,” Brian Lee (12), an SIS student with a rich biological knowledge, said. “Although taking our masks off or progressing more with returning to normalcy may be a stretch as of now, we should try to maintain the glimpse of normalcy we were able to achieve.”