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Omicron: Travel bans imposed on African countries immoral, says AU

Omicron: Travel bans imposed on African countries immoral, says AU
December 02
09:21 2021

Moussa Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, says the travel restrictions that trailed the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is an injustice against the continent.

Mahamat spoke during a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.

Omicron — labelled a “variant of concern” — was detected by South African authorities and subsequently reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Subsequently, several countries in the developed world imposed a travel ban on South Africa and its neighboring countries.

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The Canadian government also banned travellers from Nigeria and nine other African countries.

Mahamat described the development as stigmatisation that could not be justified scientifically or logically.

“They are condemning a country (South Africa) for having been transparent because its experts have worked tirelessly to inform the international community of the emergence of new variants,” he said.

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“It hasn’t been scientifically proven that these types of measures are able to deal with this type of issue. It’s clearly, as you say, an expression rather of a form of injustice. It’s immoral to condemn Africa in that way.

“We are a world, a global world and when facing an enemy like the virus, like COVID-19, humankind as a whole must go hand in hand to fight the virus because a man’s life is man’s life.”

Mahamat said African leaders need to be “collectively outraged” about the development.

“Our message to the world as a whole is that we need to keep a cool head. We need to follow the well-being of humankind as a whole,” he added

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“We need to genuinely demonstrate greater solidarity and justice. That’s the very least we can ask for, namely from our leaders, our political and social leaders.”

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