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South Africa calls travel bans over new variant ‘draconian, unjustified’

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27.11.2021

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) — South Africa’s health ministry on Friday attacked a global rush to impose travel bans to slow the spread of a new Covid variant as “draconian,” unscientific and contrary to WHO advice.

The new strain, named Omicron, has been blamed for a surge in cases in South Africa, but has already cropped up in Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel and Botswana.

“We believe that some of the reactions have been unjustified,” Health Minister Joe Phaahla told a news conference, accusing some leaders whom he did not name of seeking a “scapegoat.”

Britain was the first slap a flight ban from countries in southern Africa, just hours after South Africa revealed it had detected the variant which has multiple mutations.

Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the US among others on Friday joined Britain in restricting flights from the region.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union, also proposed a complete suspension of flights to and from southern Africa until there was a “clear understanding about the danger” posed by the new variant.

However, the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) on........

© The Times of Israel


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