South African Health Minister says “unjustice” travel ban on Omicron variants

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South Africa’s health minister said Friday that travel bans and restrictions imposed on South Africa and other African countries over new CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus variants are not justified.

A new strain called Omicron by the World Health Organization was first reported in South Africa earlier this week.

South Africa’s health minister, Joe Fara, said in a virtual media briefing that the actions of some countries, including the United Kingdom, were “injustice.”

South African scientists have made information about Omicron available for transparency, and there are concerns that the variant may be more contagious, officials told reporters.

However, there is no evidence at this time, and even if it is more contagious, it does not mean that it causes more serious cases in people, Fara added.

South African officials said the travel ban violated the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Both WHO and South African officials have described the ban as punishing the country for being open about their scientific discoveries.

“It’s very important that there is no kneeling reaction here, especially in South Africa,” WHO official Dr. Michael Ryan told reporters Thursday.

“In the past, we’ve seen everyone closing borders and restricting travel when there is any mention of any variation. It’s very important that we stay open, Q. Continue to focus on understanding and characterizing the subject, do not punish the country for doing good scientific research, and be open and transparent about what they are actually seeing and finding. It’s about keeping, “he added.

South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said the travel ban “is similar to punishing South Africa for its ability to perform advanced genomic sequencing and detect new variants more quickly.”

Epoch Times Photo
Travelers will be seen on November 27, 2021 at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Filmagakoe via Getty Images / AFP)

Cases of Omicron have been detected in other countries such as Israel, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

Many of the cases “have no recent ties to South Africa,” the ministry said.

“We respect the right of all countries to take the precautions necessary to protect their citizens, but we must keep in mind that this pandemic requires cooperation and sharing of expertise. Our immediate concern is the damage these restrictions are causing to families, the travel and tourism industry, and business, “Grace Pandor, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations, said in a statement.

The United States, Canada and Brazil were one of the countries that banned travel from countries in southern Africa.

US President Joe Biden on Friday was asked about the idea that if a country is subject to a travel ban, it does not want much to advance its scientific development.

“I think it’s ridiculous because you can’t hide the variant,” he told reporters during his vacation in Massachusetts.

“It’s not like anyone can hide the fact that there are new variants that make people sick faster,” he added. [delete]

Zachary Stieber

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Zachary Stieber covers US news, including politics and proceedings. He started in The Epoch Times as a metro reporter for New York City.

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