Omicron: South African health minister urges lifting travel ban

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Lift travel ban on South Africa, urges health minister (image: Pixabay)
Lift travel ban on South Africa, urges health minister (image: Pixabay)

Geneva : South Africa's health minister called the travel ban imposed on the nation 'discriminatory' and urged that it should be lifted at the earliest. Several nations have barred international flights coming from South Africa after it reported cases of Omicron variant.

"We find these travel bans discriminatory in light of the fact that the same travel bans have not been imposed on other countries where this variant has been found," Joe Phaahla told the World Health Organization (WHO) in a speech.

Xavier Becerra, US Secretary of Health and Human Services, told the WHO gathering: "U.S. health officials are working closely with sister ministries in southern Africa to understand more about this new variant and mobilise to contain it".

Earlier, South Africa had said that they are being punished for having good technology to identify the Omicron coronavirus strain.

The decision taken by many countries to ban flights from South Africa is equal to "punishment to South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker," the foreign affairs ministry had said in a statement.

"Excellent science should be applauded and not punished," it said.