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South Africa dubs travel bans unfair, says its punishing ‘excellent science’

South Africa dubs travel bans unfair, says its punishing ‘excellent science’

dpa
Johannesburg
South African officials called the travel restrictions and bans imposed by governments around the world in response to the new Omicron coronavirus variant unhelpful and unfair.
“This latest round of travel bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker,” said a statement released by the Ministry of International Relations.
“Excellent science should be applauded and not punished. The global community needs collaboration and partnerships in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
The statement noted that new variants had been identified in other countries without a link to South Africa.
South African officials have entered discussions with countries that have adopted travel restrictions, hoping they will reconsider the decisions, the statement said.
Minister Naledi Pandor said: “Whilst we respect the right of all countries to take the necessary precautionary measures to protect their citizens, we need to remember that this pandemic requires collaboration and sharing of expertise.” The minister also noted that the World Health Organization has also called for restraint when it comes to travel restrictions.
The African Centre for Infectious Diseases also opposed travel restrictions, stating that such restrictions for travellers from countries with a new variant have not significantly improved the situation.

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