Coronavirus: Ban on African countries for Omicron variant unfair – Akufo-Addo

Sun, 5 Dec 2021 Source: starrfm.com.gh

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President Akufo-Addo has described as unfair and discriminatory travel bans placed on some African countries after South African scientists sequenced and recorded the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

According to Akufo-Addo, attempts to single out African countries for the imposition of travel bans, as instruments of immigration control, were highly regrettable given the fact that the variant was discovered initially in the Netherlands and not in Africa.

The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have barred entry to travellers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Egypt, Mozambique, Malawi and Nigeria, following the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 in those countries.

At a joint media briefing at the Jubilee House on Saturday in Accra, after bilateral talks by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is on a two-day visit to Ghana, called for the bans to be lifted immediately.

“We repeat our firm opposition to all attempts to single out African countries for the imposition of travel bans as instruments of immigration control when we are told, for example, that the omicron variant of COVID-19, which was recently sequenced and reported by South African scientists, was discovered much earlier in the Netherlands,” said President Akufo-Addo.

Akufo-Addo added, “Those scientists should be applauded by the world and not be the object of condemnation and travel bans.”

President Ramaphosa said the travel ban was a “slap in the face of not just South Africa but African excellence in scientific endeavor.”

“It was African Scientist who detected this variant and who alerted the world to it. Instead of the world applauding the scientific excellence of an African country, they have decided that they should punish the country where these excellences emanated from.

“It was African scientific expertise particularly in genomic sequencing that brought it to the world’s attention. Now, these arbitrary travel restrictions are already causing substantial damage to the economies in our region SADC, particularly those countries that are most reliant on tourism.

“This is an imposition of apartheid measure against countries in southern Africa,” he emphasised.

Source: starrfm.com.gh
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