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EU’s TRAVEL BAN OVER OMICRON COVID VARIANT FEARS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Nov 26, 2021 | By Audrey Nyangono

Following the discovery of a new Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations, South Africa slams as « rushed » Britain’s travel ban from six southern African countries.

South Africans are bracing themselves for another tough time after the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus in their country, which is causing concern because of its mutations and, above all, because of its rapid spread, particularly in the provinces of Gauteng and Limpopo.

On Friday after the Netherlands imposed new travel restrictions amid concerns over an aggressive mutation of the Coronavirus, hundreds of passengers from South Africa were being held at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.

Germany and Italy on Friday joined Britain in banning most travel from South Africa as governments scramble to prevent the spread of a new Covid-19 variant with a large number of mutations.

EU chief Ursula Von der Leyen tweeted on Friday that the EU’s executive « will propose, in close coordination with member states, to activate the emergency brake to stop air travel from the southern African region due to the variant of concern B.1.1.529. »

In a sign of the growing alarm, the European Union on separately proposed prohibiting travel from southern Africa.

The Slovenian presidency of the EU also said on Twitter that a committee of health experts from all 27 EU states « aagreed on the need to activate the #emergency break & impose temporary restriction on all travel into EU from southern Africa.»

 In Rome,Italy,  the government on Friday announced it was banning entry to those who have been in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia or Eswatini in the past fortnight.

With @AFP

Tags South Africa Covid-19 European Union