Forum: Overreacting to Omicron variant may be counterproductive

While closing the borders with South Africa and other affected African nations may seem worthwhile, we must also not forget the unintended consequences (Follow Israel's lead on Omicron and close borders for two weeks, Nov 29).

Many countries are now watching how South Africa is being treated for being frank about Omicron. Should a new strain hit their shores, it is natural for them to think twice about being open.

Countries depend on one another for information on any new strain. But why should a country do the world a service and provide information, only for it to be penalised?

Harsh restrictions can therefore backfire and become counterproductive.

Governments should let scientists ascertain Omicron's infection rates and how lethal it is, and not simply overreact.

Travel restrictions may delay but not prevent the spread of the variant, because it is impossible to keep track of all travel flows. In the meantime, the public may be given a false sense of security.

We do not want a situation of having countries being on the defensive should a variant surface, when what's needed is for countries to be more transparent in the name of science.

Sim Joo Geok

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.