Additional testing for coronavirus will be a more effective way to combat the omicron strain than new restrictions on international travel, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his speech on the development of African countries.

Such bans are not only unfair and punitive for the countries reporting the virus, but they are also ineffective, he noted urging all governments to consider introducing additional coronavirus testing and other effective measures as appropriate.

On November 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the strain of coronavirus B.1.1.529, found in southern Africa, with the Greek letter omicron. The WHO said in a statement that the species has a large number of mutations, some of which are of concern.

Several changes in the spike protein at once can potentially make it difficult to neutralize the pathogen with antibodies, which may affect the effectiveness of existing vaccines.

According to preliminary data, the strain has an increased ability to spread. Several countries have suspended flights to southern Africa.