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The Omicron shame: Why is the world punishing instead of helping Africa?

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The decision by several governments across the globe to institute travel bans on seven African countries, starting on 27 November, due to the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, was perceived to be hasty in the eyes of some and fully justifiable on medical grounds, in the view of others. However, the matter is hardly that of a difference of opinion.

The swiftness of choking off some of Africa's poorest countries, including Botswana, Lesotho and Zimbabwe, is particularly disturbing if placed within a proper context concerning the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Global South, generally, and Africa, in particular.

"I've decided we're going to be cautious," United States President Joe Biden told reporters on 26 November, to explain the new travel restrictions imposed by Washington. "We don't know a lot about the variant except it is a great concern, seems to spread rapidly."

Although stated in polite and diplomatic terms, the rationale by mostly Western governments to prevent citizens from these seven African countries is reminiscent of the January 2017 decision of former US President Donald Trump to prevent citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries – three of them from Africa – to enter the US based on the flimsy and, of course, outright racist logic, that by doing so, the US would be able to fix its problems.

Togo receives 210,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine from Turkey

At the time, Trump made a call for "a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going........

© Middle East Monitor

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