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Daily News Lessons (show all)

How the world is responding to the omicron variant

November 29, 2021


A growing number of nations imposed travel restrictions Monday, November 29 to try to slow the spread of the new coronavirus variant, omicron. The moves came as more cases of the variant were confirmed internationally. But some warned the travel bans — including those imposed by the U.S.— would not be effective and could even be counterproductive. White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor reports.

Five Facts


  • What is the so-called “omicron” variant, and why are public health experts concerned about it?
  • Where was the omicron variant first identified?
  • How are nations such as the U.S. changing policy in reaction to the news of the variant?
  • Why do some warn that travel bans might be “counterproductive”?
  • Who called travel bans “unscientific” and why?

Focus Questions

Do you think there are any advantages to imposing travel bans to slow the spread of the omicron variant of COVID? What do you think might be a more important or effective policy after watching this piece?

Media literacy: Did you understand from this piece why health officials are concerned about the variant or why they think travel bans may or may not be useful? Who else would you want to hear from to better understand the risks?

For More

  • For more on what is known and not known about the omicron variant, see this article.
  • To read more about international reaction and public health officials’ assessment of omicron COVID, see this article.

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