In Blog, Medical, Safety

The emergence of a new COVID variant named “Omicron” has caused concern for clients traveling to Tanzania. We have received many inquiries and would like to address the common questions here.

We are constantly monitoring the situation regarding travel to and from Tanzania and will update this article when necessary.

1. What is Omicron?

Omicron is a variant/mutation of COVID-19.

2. Is Omicron more dangerous than previous variants?

Currently, there is no evidence that Omicron is more or less dangerous than previous variants like Delta. It is also unknown whether it is more transmissible or whether the vaccine is less effective against Omicron. It may take weeks for health officials to determine this and until then it appears that governments are being extra cautious.

3. Where has Omicron spread?

Cases have been identified in 40 countries so far, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Japan and the Netherlands.

There have been no confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in Tanzania nor any other East African country at this time.

3. Have there been travel restrictions due to Omicron?

More than 30 countries around the world have instituted new travel restrictions for international visitors in response to the variant. Most restrictions target Southern Africa. The United Kingdom has placed restrictions on Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia. The United States has placed restrictions on South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

No countries have placed any travel restrictions for Tanzania or any other East African country at this time.

The WHO has stated that blanket travel bans are ineffective and can cause social and economic harm.

4. Do you expect any travel restrictions to be imposed for Tanzania?

We do not. Tanzania is one of only a few countries in the world that require all passengers (including vaccinated passengers) to show a negative PCR test before traveling to Tanzania AND to test negative using a rapid antigen test on arrival. These requirements should slow the spread of the new variant between South Africa and Tanzania.  Additionally, there is very little travel between Southern Africa and East Africa. There are no direct flights between Tanzania and any Southern African country.

5. What happens if there is a travel ban to Tanzania?

In the unlikely event there is a travel ban, clients may defer their trips as per our ongoing policy since the beginning of the pandemic.

6. Will my trip be canceled?

No. We will not cancel your trip due to the new variant. We have been operating throughout the pandemic and will continue to operate.

7. Is Peak Planet taking additional precautions due to Omicron?

We have been practicing the Tanzanian government’s standard operating procedures for tourism staff since they were developed in June 2020. These protocols and procedures have been in place to ensure the safety of our clients and crew from the potential transmission of COVID.  In addition, every member of the Peak Planet staff, mountain crew and safari personnel are fully vaccinated.

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