By ANDREW MELDRUM
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The World Health Organization has urged countries not to impose flight bans on southern African nations due to concerns over the new omicron variant. WHO’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, called on countries to follow science and international health regulations in order to avoid using travel restrictions. WHO praised South Africa for following international health regulations and informing WHO as soon as its national laboratory identified the omicron variant. Cases of the omicron variant popped up in countries on opposite sides of the world Sunday and many governments rushed to close their borders. The U.S. plans to ban travel from South Africa and seven other southern African countries starting Monday.