Published on : Tuesday, November 30, 2021
Around the world, Nations are racing to discover how many cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant they have, as fears over the new strain force governments to close borders and revisit restrictions. The new mutation is potentially more transmissible, first discovered in South Africa and has been detected in several countries.
Places where cases has been reported so far are- Australia(2 cases), Austria(1 case), Belgium(1 case), Botswana(19 cases), Canada(3 cases), Czech Republic(1 case), Denmark(2 cases), Germany(3 cases), Hong Kong(3 cases), Israel(1 case), Italy(1 case), Netherlands(13 cases), Portugal(13 cases), South Africa(77 cases), Spain(1 case) and U.K.(9 cases).
According to WHO(World Health Organization), Preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalization in South Africa, but this may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, rather than a specific infection and understanding the level of severity of Omicron “will take days to several weeks”.
Jeff Lennon, Vice President of Strategic Sales and Global Partnerships at Vision-Box, on the impact of the Omicron variant on the travel sector, said “The travel sector has been reeling under the pressure of covid-19 and its variants for nearly two years now, and what has been clear is that the world will continue to deal with some form of the virus for at least the next couple of years. The Omicron variant is probably a challenging one as it appeared just before the start of the holiday season and the new year. What the sector needs here is to demonstrate the preparedness to safely enable seamless and less-intrusive travel, while at the same time building consumer confidence to return to airports, board aircrafts and venture out onto their destinations.
Contactless biometric based technologies are the key here – both for consumers to regain confidence and for airports and airlines to effectively manage crowds and cut down bottlenecks created by the additional paperwork. By implementing touchless automated technologies, passengers can confidently walk into the airport and speed through the processes, from check-in to boarding, without the need to interact with another person.
For airports, border control agencies and airlines, Digital ID wallets also present an opportunity to reduce paperwork, and seamlessly integrate all relevant passenger information into a digital profile – including identity documents, biometrics, identity-binded covid-19 test results and vaccine certificates.
The opportunities here are immense – both in reducing person-to-person contact, in effectively managing evolving checks on travel credentials, and preventing crowded hotspots.
Airports and airlines which are investing now in upgrading their infrastructure to seamless travel technologies are getting ahead of the curve, will stand to withstand periodical pressures from the evolving pandemic and its variants, and ultimately recovery the fastest.”