President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has chastised Western countries for hastily enacting travel bans in the aftermath of the latest Omicron coronavirus outbreak.
The measures were put in place in response to the discovery of the Omicron variant of Covid in South Africa this week.
So far, scientists have only found the new Omicron variant in small numbers, primarily in South Africa, but also in Botswana, Hong Kong, and Israel. However, they are concerned about the high number of mutations, which raises the possibility that it will become more vaccine-resistant and transmissible.
The British ban on flights from southern African countries has infuriated South African officials. Several other countries have followed suit, including Israel.
Many South Africans believe they are being punished for their openness and diligence in tracking the virus’s evolution.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said authorities would not consider economic lockdown restrictions at this time. He also criticizes wealthy Western countries for imposing travel bans in response to the new variant.
‘This is a clear and completely unjustified departure from the commitment made by many of these countries at the G20 meeting in Rome last month,’ Ramaphosa said.
‘A travel ban is not based on science, and it will not be effective in preventing the spread of this variant.’
‘All it will do is wreak havoc on the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to the pandemic.’
After admitting that his country is in the fourth wave of the pandemic, Ramaphosa said the government is considering making Covid vaccination mandatory.
‘If cases continue to rise, we can expect a fourth wave of infections in the coming weeks, if not sooner,’ he said.
The Omicron variant is thought to be more transmissible than the Delta variant, which is currently the most common. It was discovered in Hong Kong, Belgium, and the Netherlands after being discovered in South Africa.