The World Health Organization has called on the international community to avoid imposing travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa in response to the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus. “Putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity,” Matshidiso Moeti, regional director for Africa, said on Sunday. “COVID-19 is constantly exploiting our divisions. We will only get the best from the virus if we work together to find solutions. “
Moeti added that countries like South Africa and Botswana should be commended for their speed and transparency in identifying the new variant of the coronavirus. “WHO stands with African countries who have had the courage to boldly share vital public health information, helping to protect the world from the spread of COVID-19,” he wrote.
The United States still plans to ban travel from South Africa and seven other neighboring countries from Monday. The WHO statement came the same day South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called at the end Omicron’s “totally unjustified” travel bans: “The travel ban is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant,” he said.