'Disappointed' President Cyril Ramaphosa urges countries to reverse 'unjustified' travel bans

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 29, 2021, 08:05 AM(IST)

Ramaphosa has now called on countries to "immediately and urgently" reverse "unjustified" travel bans Photograph:( Reuters )

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He further urged the rich countries to give up vaccine inequality, as he described jabs as the "most powerful tool" to limit the transmission of the new variant

After a new Covid variant was detected in South Africa, the global authorities reacted with alarm with several imposing travel curbs and tightening border controls. 

The South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has now called on countries to "immediately and urgently" reverse these scientifically "unjustified" travel bans. In his first address to the nation after detection of the new variant, he said, "We call upon all those countries that have imposed travel bans on our country and our southern African sister countries to immediately and urgently reverse their decisions."

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The "disappointed" President said that the ban was "not informed by science".

He further urged the rich countries to give up vaccine inequality, as he described jabs as the "most powerful tool" to limit the transmission of the new variant.

Several countries have banned travellers from southern Africa over the variant fears, including, the UK, US, Canada, France, Scotland, Italy, Israel, Philippines, Germany, Singapore and Malaysia, Brazil, Saudi Arabi, and the Maldives.

Also read | WHO warns against travel curbs due to new variant, says 'closely monitoring'

The WHO has also warned against imposing travel restrictions due to the B.1.1.529 Covid-19 variant. The organisation says that it would take weeks to understand the implications of the strain. 

"WHO is closely monitoring the recently reported variant B.1.1.529," spokesman Christian Lindmeier told a media briefing in Geneva.

"Early analysis shows that this variant has a large number of mutations that require and will undergo further study. It will take a few weeks for us to understand what impact this variant has."

"Researchers are working to understand more about the mutations and what they potentially mean for how transmissible or virulent this variant is, and how they may impact on diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines."

Also, WHO has classified the new coronavirus strain detected in South Africa as a "variant of concern."

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning,” the WHO said, adding, "preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant as compared to other variants of concern."

(With inputs from agencies)

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