President Lazarus Chakwera, who is also the Sadc chairperson reacted to the UK redlisting of 10 Southern African countries in the wake of a new covid-19 variant.
Commenting on his Facebook page Chakwera said: “We are all concerned about the new Covid variant and owe South Africa’s scientists our thanks for identifying it before anyone else did.”
“But the unilateral travel bans now imposed on SADC countries by the UK, EU, US, Australia, and others are uncalled for. Covid measures must be based on science, not Afrophobia.
The new variant which was first discovered in South Africa has been classified by World Health Organization (WHO) as B.1.1.529 (Omicron) and is characterized by an increased risk of re-infection as compared to the other variants of concern.
Following its discovery, Britain on Friday placed South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zimbabwe on its red list. Travelers from these countries will be required to do a day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they have got a negative result.
The United States also announced restrictions that apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
Reuters reported that most non-U.S. citizens who have been in those countries within the prior 14 days will not be allowed into the United States.
Australia, Israel, and Singapore have also issued bans against countries in Southern Africa.
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health in Malawi said it had not found the Omicron variant among samples collected in the country.
The ministry added that Malawi Government has intensified the screening of travelers at all points of entry to prevent importation of Covid-19 cases.