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Omicron XBB.1.5: WHO urges countries wearing masks

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday urged countries to recommend all those travelling to wear masks in view of the rapid spread of the new Omicron sub-variant XBB.1.5 in several nations across the world – especially the United States, Hindustan Times reported.

WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe – Catherine Smallwood during a briefing said: “Passengers should be advised to wear masks in high-risk settings such as long-haul flights”.

According to the WHO official, wearing masks should be a “recommendation issued to passengers arriving from anywhere where there is widespread Covid-19 transmission”.

The latest highly transmissible Omicron variant – XBB.1.5 – has accounted for 27.6 percent of the Covid-19 in the United States so far till Sunday. The subvariant has been detected in Europe as well in small but growing numbers, according to WHO officials.

Meanwhile, fresh concerns regarding another wave of Covid-19 emerged after China saw a massive surge in infections last month. Several nations – including the US, UK, and France – immediately tightened their Covid testing facilities at airports and demanded Covid tests from travellers from China.