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Travel restrictions continue as omicron variant spreads

Travel experts are urging passengers to consider options and be prepared as more countries issue travel bans.

DALLAS — Concerns over the omicron variant may cause some inconvenience for people who are planning trips for international travel.

Just as the end of the year and holiday travel season was beginning to ramp up, new U.S. travel bans went into effect on Monday. The restrictions come as health experts advise the omicron variant continues to spread in some countries.

“At this point, there are still a lot of unknowns,” said Dr. Philip Huang, Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services.

Health administrators across North Texas have been communicating with state health organizations and other agencies, since the omicron COVID-19 variant was announced and identified in another country days ago.

“We can’t let our guard down. We still need to be vigilant. There’s still a lot for us to do to try to keep slowing this virus down,” Huang explained.

The U.S. government was quick to impose travel bans to South Africa and seven additional countries across southern Africa. Other nations across the globe are also restricting international travel as omicron variant cases continue spreading.

“This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” President Joe Biden said during a press conference on Monday.

Locally, health care professionals are urging travelers to avoid becoming too comfortable and continue taking precautions. Concerns remain about omicron variant mutations, its transmission, and severity of illness, among other things.

“I think it can potentially be problematic for some travelers who already have trips planned,” said Omar Kaywan, a travel expert and co-founder of Goose Insurance.

Some travel experts are urging passengers to be prepared as international travel bans continue.

“Take a picture of your vaccination card. If you have it on some sort of an app, make sure you take that with you, and you have all of that information readily available,” Kaywan explained.

He’s also suggesting international travelers consider insuring trips, if they aren’t already, specifically looking into COVID-19 insurance policies.

“It covers you for COVID-19 related medical emergencies anywhere in the world. It actually has quarantine benefits, so if you are traveling and you do test positive or you are exposed and you are required to quarantine for 14 days, this will cover that,” Kaywan added.

COVID-19 insurance policies typically run about $120, according to Kaywan. It’s an option that could offer some peace of mind, as the uncertainty of the pandemic continues playing out.

For more information about insurance options for travelers, you can visit https://www.gooseinsurance.com/en/us.