In a statement, Guterres also noted that low vaccination rates are a breeding ground for the emergence of coronavirus variants, such as the newly-identified Omicron.
“The people of Africa cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available in Africa – and they should not be penalized for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world,” the UN chief stated.
Guterres urged countries around the world to conduct repeated Covid-19 tests for travelers and take other effective measures to avoid the risk of transmission and to allow for travel and economic engagement.
Preliminary evidence suggested an increased risk of reinfection, which could trigger future outbreaks of Covid-19 with severe consequences.
In a statement, the WHO asked countries to adjust policies on international travel based on possible spread of Omicron variant.
Although Omicron variant was first detected in Africa, it is already present in Germany, Canada, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal, UK, Czech Republic and Asia.