With the daybreak of one other variant of Coronavirus pandemic, generally known as Omicron, world’s superior nations rally in opposition to Africa with journey ban, what’s now generally known as apartheid in opposition to the continent, as Nigeria’s anger is stirred in opposition to UK for placing her within the pink checklist. Chinedu Eze writes that politics, financial exploitation and racism is perhaps behind the knee-jerk response and boycott of Africa over Omicron
When South Africa introduced the brand new pressure of Coronavirus pandemic on November 25, the response was stunning, as many nations started to ban flights from South Africa and different nations of the southern sub-region.
With that announcement nations banned flight operations to South Africa, Bostwana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe and later Canada included Nigeria, Egypt and Malawi, the place air travellers are banned from coming to the North American nation.
Few days after the announcement, the nations that banned flights to those African nations embrace: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, India and Indonesia.
Others embrace Eire, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, United Kingdom and the US.
BBC reported that South Africa has complained it’s being punished – as an alternative of applauded – for locating Omicron. South Africa’s Well being Minister, Joe Phaahla mentioned there was “completely no have to panic” over the brand new coronavirus variant Omicron, regardless of a surge in instances.
“Now we have been right here earlier than,” he mentioned, referring to the Beta variant detected in South Africa final December. South Africa additionally condemned the journey bans imposed on the nation, saying they need to be lifted instantly.
Nonetheless, World Well being Organisation (WHO) mentioned Omicron mutates closely so it’s more likely to unfold internationally and poses a really excessive danger of an infection surges that might have “extreme penalties” in some locations.
Though no Omicron-linked deaths had but been reported then, however WHO mentioned additional analysis was wanted to evaluate its potential to withstand vaccines and immunity induced by earlier infections.
Anticipating elevated case numbers because the variant, first reported final week, spreads, WHO urged its 194 member states to speed up vaccination of high-priority teams.
On the angle of the world to South Africa, WHO condemned that journey ban and urged nations around the globe to not impose flight ban on southern African nations on account of considerations over the brand new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
WHO’s regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, known as on nations to comply with science and worldwide well being laws so as to keep away from utilizing journey restrictions.
“Journey restrictions might play a task in barely lowering the unfold of COVID -19 however place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods,” Moetisaid in a press release. “If restrictions are applied, they shouldn’t be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and needs to be scientifically primarily based, based on the Worldwide Well being Rules, which is a legally binding instrument of worldwide regulation recognised by over 190 nations.”
Moeti praised South Africa for following worldwide well being laws and informing WHO as quickly as its nationwide laboratory recognized the Omicron variant.
“The pace and transparency of the South African and Botswana governments in informing the world of the brand new variant is to be recommended,” mentioned Moeti. “WHO stands with African nations which had the braveness to boldly share life-saving public well being info, serving to shield the world in opposition to the unfold of COVID-19.”
Whereas investigations proceed into the Omicron variant, WHO beneficial that each one nations “take a risk-based and scientific strategy and put in place measures which might restrict its potential unfold.”
Journey Ban not Resolution
NPR has reported that research counsel that journey ban alone don’t do a lot in curbing the unfold of the virus or its variant. The medium famous that although scientists have little details about the brand new variant and are not sure the place it originated from, a number of nations, together with the US, Canada, the UK and the European Union introduced virtually rapid journey ban from South Africa and different southern African nations.
As at November 30, these nations have detected Omicron based on CNN: Australia: 6 instances Austria: 1 case Belgium: 1 case Botswana: 19 instances Canada: 3 instances
Czech Republic: 1 case Denmark: 2 instances France: 1 case (on Reunion Island) Germany: 4 instances
Hong Kong: 3 instances Israel: 2 instances Italy: 4 instances Japan: 1 case Netherlands: 14 instances Portugal: 13 instances South Africa: 77 instances Spain: 1 case Sweden: 1 case United Kingdom: 14 instances.
Nigeria on December 1, 2021 introduced that instances Omicron variant had been confirmed in Nigeria.
“The Nigeria Centre for Illness Management (NCDC) mentioned at first three Nigerians have been recognized with the Omicron variant, however as at December 6, 2021 extra residents have been recognized with the variant.
In what it refers to as Pavlovian response, the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation (IATA) excoriated nations that slammed journey ban on South Africa and different nations within the sub-region. Like Pavlovian conditioning, which is a reflex or knee-jack strategy, IATA accused these nations of journey ban and endorsed that they need to have adopted a more practical methods than to ban journey to the nations of the southern sub-region of the African continent.
“After practically two years of coping with COVID-19, we must always have progressed past these knee-jerk, uncoordinated, Pavlovian-like responses, to recognise that the virus is nicely on its approach to being endemic. Public well being officers inform us that we must always count on variants to emerge. And by the point they’re detected, the fact is that they’re most likely already current across the globe.
“That’s what is occurring now. We’re already discovering Omicron in components of the world removed from South Africa, the place it was first recognized. Journey restrictions are usually not going to cease the unfold. And they’re going to do actual hurt to individuals and economies,” IATA mentioned.
So as to reinforce its place in opposition to journey ban, IATA quoted medical consultants who share the identical view and warned in opposition to journey ban.
“It is actually vital that there are not any knee jerk responses right here, particularly with relation to South Africa. South Africa is choosing up attention-grabbing and vital info for which we’re doing the correct danger evaluation and danger administration. Now we have seen up to now that when there may be any point out of a variant then everyone seems to be closing borders and proscribing journey. It’s actually vital that we stay open and targeted on characterising the issue, not punishing nations for doing excellent scientific work and being open and clear about what they’re seeing and what they’re discovering,” mentioned WHO Govt Director, Mike Ryan.
The African Union Vaccine Supply Alliance C-Chair, Dr AyoadeAlakija described the motion of the nations banning journey to some African nations as politics, as these nations didn’t equally announce journey ban to some nations exterior Africa, the place the brand new COVID-19 variant was discovered.
IATA additionally noticed, “Worldwide journey all however stopped in April 2020; and the virus unfold regardless of the assurances of our political leaders that banning journey would management it. To this point, over 260 million individuals are recognized to have been contaminated. Many extra instances are most likely unreported. In the meantime, the human and financial price of de-connecting the world might by no means actually be calculated.”
In reality, there are indications that earlier than South Africa introduced the invention of the Omicron variant, it had been present in Netherlands and probably different European nations. CBS Information reported that the Omicron variant had been in Europe earlier than South Africa introduced and made it recognized to the world.
“Dutch well being authorities introduced on Tuesday that they discovered the brand new Omicron variant of coronavirus in instances courting again so long as 11 days, indicating that it was already spreading in western Europe earlier than the primary instances have been recognized in southern Africa. The RIVM well being institute mentioned it discovered Omicron in samples courting from November 19 and 23,” CBS Information reported.
UK Places Nigeria on Pink Listing
Nigeria was shocked final Saturday when UK put Nigeria on pink checklist, which requires stringent COVID-19 measures that embrace short-term journey ban for non-UK and Irish residents and residents.
British Excessive Fee, Abuja issued a press release that from Monday, November 6, 2021 solely UK and Irish residents and residents arriving from Nigeria can be allowed into the nation however they have to isolate for 10 days and obtain two unfavorable PCR checks, “as additional precautionary motion is taken in opposition to the Omicron variant.”
The Minister of Info and Tradition, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who addressed journalists in Abuja, described the choice of the UK authorities concentrating on Nigerian travellers as discriminatory, unfair, punitive, indefensible and unjust.
The Secretary Common of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, additionally joined to strongly condemn what he termed “journey apartheid” being meted on some creating nations, principally in Africa as a part of their technique to curtail the unfold of Omicron variant.
That is simply as Nigeria’s Excessive Commissioner to the UK, Sarafa TunjiIsola, who was on a media spherical in UK, aligned with the place of the Guterres in describing the motion by the UK authorities as “journey apartheid.”
The Nigerian Senate has additionally known as on the British authorities to contemplate eradicating Nigeria from their Coronavirus (COVID-19) pink checklist. The Senate condemned what it known as the UK’s inclusion of Nigeria within the COVID-19 pink checklist with out justification.
In the meantime, earlier than the British authorities put Nigeria on the pink checklist, Canada had already banned travellers from Nigeria, Lai Mohammed who was specifically incensed in opposition to UK, argued that there have been extra instances of Omicron within the UK than in Nigeria and there are much more instances in lots of European nations however UK didn’t put these nations within the pink checklist.
In reality, there have been options that UK meant to make a lot cash from the Nigerian pink checklist, as residents and residents who journey to Nigeria on their return to UK would pay about 2, 285.00 kilos for 10 day quarantine at authorities accepted lodge facility.
The President of the Nationwide Affiliation of Nigeria Journey Businesses (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye condemned the choice of the UK to place Nigeria within the pink checklist and mentioned it was completely uncalled for.
She disclosed to THISDAY that a number of Nigerians with youngsters resident within the UK who needed to return to Nigeria have cancelled their journey plans together with others and regretted that the motion taken by the UK would discourage vaccination as a result of it signifies that vaccination just isn’t vital, as those that vaccinated and people who didn’t vaccinate are handled the identical method.
In the meantime, based on The Indian Specific, India on Monday added Ghana and Tanzania to the checklist of “in danger” nations, passengers from there should comply with further Covid-19 testing and quarantine measures.
The newspaper reported that the checklist now of flight includes nations in Europe, together with the UK, and South Africa, Brazil, Botswana, China, Ghana, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tanzania and Israel.
It’s hoped that as extra revelations are made concerning the new COVID-19 variant, omicron, whether or not it’s deadly or gentle, these nations that positioned African nation’s on flight ban would expectedly raise the bans, as there are indications that Omicron just isn’t as harmful as Delta.