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Omicron: Ramaphosa warns of economic impact of ‘discriminatory’ travel restrictions

Omicron: Ramaphosa warns of economic impact of ‘discriminatory’ travel restrictions
December 01
14:52 2021

Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, has called for the reversal of travel restrictions placed on African countries over fears of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

He said the “discriminatory restrictions” will have long-lasting effects on the economies of the affected countries.

The United Kingdom, European Union and the United States are among those that have imposed a travel ban on South Africa and its neighboring countries due to fears of Omicron — the new COVID “variant of concern”.

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

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The heavily mutated Omicron variant was detected by South African authorities and subsequently reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Speaking on Wednesday at the end of his state visit to Nigeria, Ramaphosa commended African countries who are united against the imposition of the “arbitrary restrictions“.

“I think it is important that I emphasise this in the light of the discovery by South African scientists of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus and subsequent imposition of extremely harsh and unfair travel restrictions on flights from and to South Africa as well as on a number of other African countries,” he said.

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“President Buhari, the solidarity expressed by yourself and the Government of Nigeria sends the strongest message. It says that as African countries, we are standing united against the imposition of arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions that are not only unscientific but counterproductive in the long run.

“Indeed, the leaders of Cote d’Ivoire where we are traveling to later today, as well as the leaders of Ghana and Senegal, have also expressed their dissatisfaction with the travel ban against South Africa and our sister countries in southern Africa.

“This is a global pandemic. And overcoming it requires that we collaborate and work together as a collective. The resulting damage of tthis travel ban to the economies of the countries affected will be considerable and long lasting. So I want to use this opportunity to once again call on the countries who have imposed this ban to reverse their decisions, whether they are in the northern, more developed economies or in other parts of our continent and elsewhere.”

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