Omicron Covid variant cases and travel news from around the world


A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks out from a shopping mall in Beijing, Nov. 29, 2021.

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A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walks out from a shopping mall in Beijing, Nov. 29, 2021. (Andy Wong/AP)

As countries around the world scramble to impose travel bans to stem the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, China remains outwardly calm — at least for now. 

Despite two confirmed cases of the heavily mutated variant in Hong Kong, Chinese public health experts have expressed confidence in the country’s existing border control measures.

China’s response — or the lack thereof — is hardly surprising. The country’s border restrictions are already among the strictest in the world, with most foreign visitors, from tourists to students, banned from entering mainland China.

Zhang Wenhong, an infectious disease expert in Shanghai and arguably China’s most trusted voice on Covid-19, said the new variant would have “no major impact on China at this time.”

And at a conference in Guangzhou over the weekend, Zhong Nanshan, a top respiratory disease expert and government adviser, said China has no plans to take any “major action” in response to the Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, in Chinese state media the prevailing mood is one of apparent vindication. As much of the world started to reopen and learn to live with Covid, China dug its heels and looked increasingly isolated by comparison. That isolation is now being extolled as a uniquely Chinese advantage in the fight against the new variant. 

Read the full analysis here.