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COLOMBO: Maldives said it was barring travellers from seven African countries from Sunday (Nov 28) over concerns about the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Travellers will not be allowed into Maldives from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Eswatini, the health ministry said in a statement.

Travellers who arrived from these countries over the past two days will have to undergo 14 days of quarantine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday declared the new coronavirus variant to be “of concern” and many countries have slapped travel restrictions on various African nations.

The new variant was first reported to WHO from South Africa last week and has so far been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.