The World Health Organization (WHO) criticizes the selective closure of borders to African countries and calls on rich countries and the international community to help the region confront the Omicron variable. For the agency, governments need to follow the flag when adopting restrictive measures.
The demand comes after African countries became the target of barriers by Europe, the United States and dozens of governments around the world. The measures were implemented after South Africans informed the World Health Organization of a new mutation in the COVID-19 virus.
However, the proliferation of barriers has made African countries angry, claiming that they are being punished for their transparency. And this Sunday they won the support of the World Health Organization.
“Travel restrictions may play a role in limiting the spread of the coronavirus, but they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” the WHO Africa office said in a statement.
“If the restrictions are implemented, they must not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and must be scientifically based, in accordance with the International Health Regulations, a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by more than 190 countries,” he said.
The World Health Organization also praised the work of the South Africans in informing the world about the new alternative. “The speed and transparency of the governments of South Africa and Botswana in informing the world about the new alternative is commendable. WHO stands with African countries that have had the courage to share public health information with courage that saves lives, and helps protect the health of people,” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director. For Africa: “The world is against the spread of Covid-19.” He said, “I ask all countries to respect their legal obligations and implement scientifically based public health measures.”
For him, it is essential that countries that are transparent about their data be supported. “While investigations into the variant continue, the World Health Organization recommends that countries take a scientific, risk-based approach and implement measures that can limit its potential spread,” he said.
The organization stresses that despite the flight ban imposed on South African countries, “so far only two countries have discovered the new alternative.” “Meanwhile, countries in other regions have reported cases of oomicron,” the WHO highlights.
“With the alternative now being discovered in different regions of the world, implementing travel bans targeting Africa is attacking global solidarity,” the agency said.
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