What Hispanics Need to Know About the Omicron Variant
Omicron is a variant of the COVID-19 virus first reported in late November in South Africa. Here is everything we know about it so far.
What We Know About Omicron
Omicron is not proven to be more transmissible than other strains of the COVID-19 virus, including Delta.
Omicron is not proven to cause more severe COVID-19 cases than other variants. Doctors report extremely “mild symptoms” for those who test positive with Omicron.
Virus mutations are normal and not necessarily a threat.
"There is currently no information to suggest that symptoms associated with omicron are different from those from other variants," WHO said.
It said there's no evidence that COVID vaccines, tests and treatments are any less effective against the new version.
What To Do
COVID vaccines have proven the best way to decrease the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
Frequent hand washing can also help protect you from infection.
How Omicron Might Affect Travel Over the Holidays
Out of an abundance of caution, some countries have chosen to temporarily close their borders. Most countries are only restricting travel from southern African countries. These restrictions will fluctuate as we learn more about the variant. Below are the current restrictions by country.
Argentina will require a vaccine passport for large gatherings. It is temporarily pausing the restart of direct flights to Africa which was originally planned for December. Argentina requires all travelers to present a vaccination card and any travelers who have been to Africa in the past two weeks to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
Belize has not taken action to restrict travel in response to Omicron.
Brazil has closed its borders to travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesoto, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
Any traveler that has been to Africa in the past two weeks and is experiencing symptoms is required to report their travel to Colombian authorities. However, Colombia has no plans on closing its borders, saying that doing so without sufficient information would be hasty.
Chile has suspended flights to the seven African countries and residents and travelers from the region may not enter Chile. Other residents and foreigners may enter the country if they comply with precautions, including being fully vaccinated.
Costa Rica has not taken action to restrict travel in response to Omicron.
Cuba will require a 7 day quarantine for all international travelers in response to Omicron.
Guatemala will limit entrance to the country for anyone who has visited South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Lesoto, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Egypt in the past two weeks. There are exceptions for Guatemalans and permanent residents, but they will have to present a COVID-19 vaccination card, negative PCR test, and quarantine for 10 days.
Ecuador does not plan on closing its borders in response to Omicron, citing confidence in its preventative measures.
Honduras has not taken action to restrict travel in response to Omicron.
Mexico has not taken measures against Omicron but will continue to monitor the situation.
Paraguay restricts travel from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola. The Health Ministry is monitoring seven people who entered from South Africa and Namibia in the last 14 days.
Nicaragua has not taken action to restrict travel in response to Omicron.
Entry of travellers from South Africa (residence, stay in the last 14 days or transit) is prohibited until 12 December. Peruvian nationals and foreigners residing in Peru entering from South Africa are subject to a 14-day quarantine requirement.
El Salvador has not taken action to restrict travel in response to Omicron.
Uruguay has not taken action to restrict travel in response to Omicron.
Venezuela has not taken action to restrict travel in response to Omicron.
Ama al Prójimo will continue to update this page. For the most up-to-date information, consult the country in question’s website.
For the time being, there is very limited information on the Omicron variant. Scientists are actively investigating it and will publish more information when they can.