The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on governments to re-instate mask-wearing rules on long-haul flights and in high-risk situations in view of newly-emerging Covid-19 variants.
The news comes after China re-opened to international travel last week and several countries in the world and the European Union, including Greece, imposed pre-boarding testing and mask-wearing on board flights.
According to the WHO’s recommendations, 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,” said WHO Senior Emergency Officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood.
“Countries need to look at the evidence base for pre-departure testing” and if action is considered, “travel measures should be implemented in a non-discriminatory manner,” she added.
The new XBB.1.5 known as “Kraken” appears to be making its way to Europe and incidents increasing, the WHO said.
In Greece, over the last week, the number of Covid-related deaths increased to 149, hospitalizations also rose, and six cases of Kraken were detected, the National Public Health Organization (EODY) reported.
According to health officials, XBB.1.5 is the most contagious Omicron subvariant detected so far and now the dominant variant worldwide.