‘End The Apartheid’: Adesina Condemns Omicron Travel Ban On African Countries

Written by on December 6, 2021

The President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has condemned travel bans placed on African countries over the latest variant of COVID-19, Omicron.

“Now that omicron has been found in many non-African and developed countries, why are travels from those countries not banned? Why single out African countries? Singling out African countries is very unfair, non-scientific, and discriminatory. Lift bans on African countries!” Adesina said in a statement.

“Global vaccines’ and travel apartheid against Africa are endangering lives, hurting economies, lives, jobs and livelihoods, from a pandemic Africa did not cause. End the apartheid. Respect Africa!”

Nigeria on Monday became the latest African country to be banned by the United Kingdom over the virus’ spread.

The country joins its Southern African counterparts – South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Angola, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia – on the list of restricted countries.

Announcing the ban of travellers from Nigeria on Saturday, UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid said most “a significant number” of Omicron cases have been linked to travel with Nigeria.

“There are 27 cases already in England and that’s growing and Nigeria now is second only to South Africa in terms of linked cases to Omicron,” he said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has also criticised the travel bans.

Mr Ramaphosa, who spoke at the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security on Monday, said the travel bans signalled western hypocrisy.

The Omicron variant was first identified in Southern Africa but is believed to have been spreading in Europe undetected much earlier.

” . . . when South African scientists discovered the new variant Omicron, we immediately took on the responsibility of informing the world. However what was the result?” Mr. Ramaphosa queried.

“The western countries imposed a ban – as it were to punish excellence coming from Africa, preventing our people from travelling. However, this new variant continues to spread across the globe, beyond Southern Africa, including in their own countries.

“And so one asks, where is science? These countries have always said to us that we should base our decisions on science. But when the time comes for them to apply it to themselves, they do not, but resort to their own self-interest.

“We say that these bans must be removed with immediate effect.

“The devastating impact this travel ban will have is well-known. The UN Secretary-General has called it travel apartheid.

“These travel bans will devastate the economies of Southern Africa that are dependent on tourism. They go precisely against what was agreed at the G20 in Italy earlier this year when it was said we must open up travel so the tourism sector can recover.

“Instead they are closing it down in Africa. This is hypocrisy of the worst order and must come to an end.”

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