Friday, May 13 2022

As several countries impose travel restrictions or bans on passengers from South Africa due to the discovery of the new omicron variant of Covid-19, the country’s Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, has called this decision of “unjustified” and “counter-productive”.

“We want to assure South Africans and others elsewhere in the world that we believe some of the reactions have in fact been unjustified, referring here specifically to the reaction of countries in Europe, the UK and other parts of the world. ‘a number of other countries,’ Phaala said. , according to Sputnik.

He further said that the reactions in the form of travel bans and other measures are entirely against “norms and standards as guided by the World Health Organization (WHO)”.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, the health minister said the move is a “very counterproductive reaction” and will make people feel “risky to leak” their findings, Al Jazeera reported.

His statements come as the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, Russia and the 27 countries of the European Union (EU) have imposed travel restrictions or bans on travelers from the countries from southern Africa. South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Lesotho are some of the countries from which the entry of passengers has been banned or requires the obligation to submit to additional measures.

On Saturday, Japan announced the addition of three more nations – Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, to its list of countries where travel restrictions have been imposed. The restriction has already been announced for people arriving from Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini and Zimbabwe.

The WHO has called the B.1.1.529 variant of Covid-19 a “variant of concern”. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, director of the United Nations health agency for Southeast Asia, on Saturday urged Southeast Asian countries not to lose their guard, step up surveillance and strengthen the vaccination in order to fight against the new variant of the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom (UK) confirmed its first two cases of the omicron variant Covid-19 on Saturday. The country’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, said in a statement reported by AFP that they moved “quickly” and patients are currently self-isolating while contact tracing is underway.

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