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BANGKOK: Thailand said on Saturday it would ban the entry of people travelling from eight African countries it designated as high-risk for the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Starting in December, travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, will be prohibited, senior health official Opas Karnkawinpong told a news conference.

Thailand will not allow travellers from these countries to register to travel to Thailand starting on Saturday, he said.

Australia bans southern Africa flights over virus concerns

The announcement comes as other countries in Asia tighten borders over worries about the B 1.1.529 variant. The World Health Organization designated it the latest "variant of concern," saying it may spread more quickly than other forms. .

"We have notified airlines and these countries," Opas said adding that travellers from other African countries will not be allowed to use the country's quarantine-free travel scheme for vaccinated travellers.

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