South Africa demands lifting of travel restrictions for
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Omicron variant isolates South Africa
Regarding the epidemiological situation, the wave of cases caused by the Omicron variant has almost completely subsided. In fact, the “epidemiological traffic light” status categorization is no longer used and there are no longer any restrictions. The use of masks is no longer mandatory.
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EU considers ban on flights with South Africa
After numerous countries have tightened their travel policies to southern Africa to curb the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed its rejection of these drastic restrictions. It therefore calls for decisions to be guided by science and for support to be given to African countries.
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 scientists and health authorities in South Africa, based on samples taken between November 14 and 16. Since then, cases have been confirmed in Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, among other countries.
Despite the limited information available, many countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States and European Union countries, quickly announced drastic travel restrictions for southern African countries, measures that generated strong unease on the African continent.
US, Canada and Europe limit travel from southern Africa for
After two cases of the new variant were detected in the United Kingdom, six African countries were placed on its red list. Two days later, four more countries in sub-Saharan Africa were added to the red list. People from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Esuatini, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola are now banned from entering the UK.
A day later, the European Union followed the United Kingdom. “The European Commission has today proposed to Member States to activate the emergency travel brake on travel from Southern Africa and other affected countries. All air travel to and from these countries should be suspended until we have a clear understanding of the severity of the mutations of this new variant,” said Ursula von der Leyen, chairwoman of the EU Commission.
Australia and Thailand have since joined the United States, Brazil and Canada in imposing travel bans from southern African countries. Japan, Israel, Morocco, Oman and Jamaica have followed suit.