Home WORLD AFRICA Omicron variant: South Africa travel bans “unjustified” | Coronavirus

Omicron variant: South Africa travel bans “unjustified” | Coronavirus


Scientists announced the day before that they had detected a new form of COVID-19 in the southern African country, potentially very contagious and with multiple mutations. The effectiveness of vaccines against this mutant form called Omicron byWHO is under consideration.

As the day went on, South Africa found itself increasingly isolated from the rest of the world. Many countries such as France and the United States have announced that they are suspending flights. The European Union has recommended suspending all travel to and from South Africa and six neighboring countries.

Some reactions are unwarrantedSouth African Health Minister Joe Phaahla said at a press conference in the evening. Some leaders are looking for scapegoats to solve a problem that is global, he continued, evoking a reaction from panic.

The UK was the first to announce late Thursday closing its borders to travelers from South Africa.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa held talks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday. They discussed the challenges posed globally by the new variant of COVID-19, and ways to work together to address the situation and reopen international travel, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

Never has a new variant caused so much concern in the world since the Delta variant.

Such measures draconian, according to South Africa, which affect the economy and tourism, could deter countries from reporting the discovery of upcoming variants for fear of being sanctioned.

We are sometimes punished for being transparent and doing things quickly.

A quote from Tulio de Oliveira, virologist

According to Mr de Oliveira, who, together with his team from the KRISP research institute, detected the variant, travel bans have not scientifically not much sense in the fight against COVID-19.

WHO advises against travel restrictions

The specialist recalled that the United States had imposed a similar ban on China at the start of the pandemic, before ending up with the highest number of infections.

THE’WHO, which classified the variant worrying, estimates that it will take a few weeks to understand its level of transmissibility and virulence, and has advised against any travel restrictions at this point.

Omicron appears to have spread already, with cases detected in neighboring Botswana, but also in Hong Kong, Belgium and Israel.

South Africa is officially the African country most affected by the pandemic and is experiencing an exponential increase in contamination. The country has so far more than 2.9 million cases and nearly 89,800 deaths.

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