As more cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected around the world, South Africa appears to be taking a bashing for disclosing its detection of the variant.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla said the WHO was informed of the findings in the interest of transparency, adding that some reactions to the discovery, including travel bans, were unwarranted.
Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela believes South Africa scientists must be applauded.
“Excellent science should be applauded and not punished. The global community needs collaboration and partnerships in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SA Tourism acting CEO Sthembiso Dlamini says the decision by some countries to ban travel to and from the country is unjust and rushed.
Dlamini says this will further derail recovery efforts in the sector.
Meanwhile, South African Airways (SAA) interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo announced that the last flight from SA to Mauritius, which was scheduled for Sunday, has been cancelled after Mauritian authorities imposed further travel restrictions on South Africa.
Dr Michael Ryan (WHO Head of Emergencies) has stressed the importance of waiting to see what the data will show.
“We’ve seen in the past, the minute there’s any kind of mention of any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It’s really important that we remain open, and stay focused,” Ryan said.
Minister Naledi Pandor said: “Whilst we respect the right of all countries to take the necessary precautionary measures to protect their citizens, we need to remember that this pandemic requires collaboration and sharing of expertise. Our immediate concern is the damage that these restrictions are causing to families, the travel and tourism industries and business”.