America Gets Whole | Covid-19 in the World
The cascade of country restrictions began Thursday night when the United Kingdom announced it would temporarily suspend flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
Singapore has opted to ban entry to all non-residents from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, while returning nationals and permanent residents from any of these countries will be required to spend 10 days at home. Malaysia has also taken similar measures.
Meanwhile, Germany plans to declare South Africa a “virus variant area” as of Friday night, which will mean that airlines will only be able to enter from the country to repatriate German nationals.
The United States will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries as of Monday. Following advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
COVID-19 variant is “the worst we’ve seen”.
The first countries to announce restrictions on Thursday night were the United Kingdom and Israel, which have vetoed the entry of travelers from seven southern African countries – South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. The British Government has acted very quickly and the London Executive has banned air services from the above-mentioned African countries since 12.00 GMT.
Later, the Netherlands and Austria joined in. The Dutch government decided on Friday to suspend all flights from southern African countries as a precautionary measure. As of 12:00 noon (11:00 GMT), the southern African countries will also be “classified as very high risk areas” for coronavirus, which means “a quarantine obligation” and the submission to two tests for travelers from these countries.
For its part, the Austrian government announced Friday the closure of its borders to travelers arriving by air from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Esuatini (formerly Swaziland).
U.S. bans travel from South Africa and other countries in the world
The Council of Ministers has agreed this Tuesday to lift the restrictions on flights from the United Kingdom in force since the end of December to curb the arrival of the British variant of the coronavirus, but will maintain the measures in the same sense imposed on flights from Brazil and South Africa.
As regards South Africa and Brazil, the fourth extension of the measure adopted on February 2 has been agreed, so that the limitation will be in force until April 13.
UNITED KINGDOM will require 3 COVID-19 TESTS to travel to
For the president, the restrictions are “unjustified” and “unfairly discriminate” against southern African nations, in addition to the fact that “they will not be effective in preventing the spread of this variant”.
“Instead of banning travel, the rich countries of the world should support the efforts of developing economies to access and manufacture sufficient doses of vaccines for their people without delay,” the South African president stressed.
The discovery of this new variant of the coronavirus, identified as B.1.1.529 and baptized with the Greek letter Omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO), was announced last Thursday by South African scientists and health authorities, based on samples taken between November 14 and 16.
Since Friday, other countries have also confirmed cases of the Omicron variant, including Israel, Belgium (a case of a female traveler from Egypt with no apparent links to southern Africa), Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.