WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

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The World Health Organization on Sunday called on countries not to impose travel restrictions on southern African countries amid concerns over the new COVID-19 omicron variant.

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why it matters: The US and countries in Europe and Asia-Pacific have implemented travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It has since spread to several European countries, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African countries have detected the new variant.

What are they saying: “Travel restrictions may play a role in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 slightly, but impose a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” WHO said.

  • “If sanctions are implemented, they must not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and must be scientifically based in accordance with International Health Regulations, a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by more than 190 countries. Is.”
  • Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement that “the speed and transparency of the South African and Botswana governments in informing the world of the new edition should be commended.”
  • “The Omicron variant has now been detected in many regions of the world, which enforce travel restrictions that make Africa an attack on global solidarity,” Moeti said. “COVID-19 constantly exploits our divisions. We will only get better from the virus if we work together to find solutions.”
  • White House representatives did not immediately respond to Nerdshala’ request for comment.
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go in: South Africa says it is being “punished” for detecting new COVID variant

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