The World Health Organization (WHO) on Sunday urged countries around the world not to impose flight bans on southern African nations due to concerns over the new Omicron variant, according to a report in the Associated Press. WHO ’s regional director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, called on countries to follow science and international health regulations in order to avoid using travel restrictions. In a statement, Moeti said restrictions may play a slight role in reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. If restrictions are implemented, she said, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and should be scientifically based. According to the AP, Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa, said in a speech that the prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant. The only thing the prohibition on travel will do, he said, is “to further damage the economies of the affected countries, and undermine the ability to respond to, and also to recover from, the pandemic.”