Although the year does not start in the way expected, new advances in the fight against the pandemic allow us to be optimistic in the short and medium term
On November 26, the WHO classified the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of SARS-CoV-2 as worrisome, since then no one could foresee that in just a few days it would have generated such a number of infections around the world and how it was Hopefully, tourism begins to feel the effects of a beginning of the year that was not the dream.
Beyond that, the situation is very far from February 2020, different studies agree that the worst of the pandemic could be seen between January and February, beginning to give way towards March, becoming an endemic.
Zurab Pololikashvili, UNWTO Secretary General has been more than eloquent in this regard, the official said: "2021 has been another challenging year for our societies, our economies and tourism. Many millions of jobs and companies remain in danger, at the mercy of a evolving crisis and government actions. However, we are by no means in the same place we were when the pandemic was declared in March 2020. In fact, we have succeeded in laying the groundwork for restarting tourism around to the pillars of sustainability, innovation, people and investment for a resilient future.”
"Much progress has been made in vaccine implementation and in the detection and treatment of COVID-19. We have also seen significant progress in finding the right balance between keeping people safe and keeping the tourism lifeline intact, as illustrated. the effective collaboration of UNWTO with the World Health Organization (WHO) since the beginning of the pandemic".
"A collaborative and multilateral approach is and must remain at the center of capitalizing on the lessons we have learned in such a short time."
"Ensuring harmonized travel protocols has been our message from day one. They are at the heart of the restart of tourism in many parts of the world."
"We are also encouraged by the resilience and determination of the tourism industry itself, as well as of our Member States."
Situation in the Americas
PAHO has warned that the increased circulation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in several countries, together with greater personal contact due to the holidays and vacations season, may lead to an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks.
As of December 28, more than 1.4 billion doses have been administered in the Americas, and 57% of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean is fully vaccinated.
The COVAX Mechanism, through the PAHO Revolving Fund, has so far delivered more than 76.2 million doses of vaccines to 33 countries in the Americas, many of them donated by other countries.
Controversial restrictions and measures
During the last days of 2021 and the beginning of this year we have witnessed some anachronistic and controversial decisions managing the pandemic. It has already been a great advance that the WHO recognized days ago that closing borders does not work to contain the pandemic. There is still a long way to go, but without a doubt the light is becoming clearer at the end of the tunnel.