African Union urges end to Omicron travel bans on several African nations
The African Union on Tuesday said the travel restrictions imposed on some of its member states over the Omicron variant should end immediately, saying the curbs penalize African governments for sharing Covid-19 data in compliance with international health regulations.
The measures act "as a disincentive for information sharing in the future, potentially posing a threat to health security on the continent and globally," the AU said in a statement.
Late last month, European Union states, the United States and Britain, among other nations, imposed travel curbs on seven southern African countries after they reported several cases of the Omicron variant, which is considered highly infectious.
Speaking to the BBC on Monday, Sarafa Tunji Isola, Nigeria's high commissioner to the UK, echoed recent comments made by UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, who described restrictions imposed on some southern African countries as "travel apartheid".
Leaders of African countries have also condemned the bans as unfair. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday the measures were “deeply disappointing”.
Ramaphosa said the restrictions are punishing the very people and governments that helped inform the world of a new coronavirus variant.