Western countries target Africa with travel bans as Omicron variant cases spread

Blessing towing Company

As more countries continue to report confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant of the Covid-19 pandemic, many western countries are imposing travel bans with Africa as the main target.

About 40 countries have imposed travel restrictions on several African countries following the discovery of the variant while Japan and Israel have banned any foreign national from entering their countries.

Canada, which confirmed a 3rd case of the Omicron Covid-19 variant on Monday is one of the countries. All three people had travelled to Canada from Nigeria. The country is considering adding Nigeria to the list of countries currently included in a travel ban to Canada.

Paraguay has also issued a travel ban on tourists from 10 African countries. These are South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola.

Switzerland has re-imposed quarantine for travellers from countries where Omicron is present. The country now requires travellers from Portugal, Nigeria, Canada and Japan to quarantine for 10 days due to the presence of the Omicron variant in those countries. Travellers from those countries will also require a negative test before boarding flights to Switzerland.

This is just as the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that countries that are transparent about the presence of the Covid-19 variants are not penalized for their reporting,

Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Covid-19 Technical Lead, told CNN in an interview, that this can hinder tracking the development of new coronavirus variants.

“The big question is, if you put Omicron next to Delta, what would happen? We don’t have that comparison yet. We will get some good data from other countries that are starting to detect this variant.

“This is why it is so critical that countries continue to report this. And are worried – we are worried about the stigma associated with countries that report this information so forthcoming. You know, it’s really critical that that continues, and that countries don’t feel that they will be penalized for reporting this information,” Van Kerkhove told CNN’s, Christiane Amanpour.

Van Kerkhove said travel restrictions might slow the spread of the Omicron variant, but they “won’t stop it.”

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