While the WHO did not advise against applying travel restrictions this afternoon after the announcement of a new variant of the Omicron coronavirus first detected in southern Africa, many countries have decided otherwise. Following an emergency meeting on Friday, European Union officials recommended that the 27 EU countries suspend flights from seven African countries. These are "Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe", tweeted Eric Mamer, spokesperson for the European Commission. Earlier, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy had already decided to suspend flights from South Africa.

Shortly after the WHO classified the Omicron variant as “of concern,” Canada followed suit and announced it was barring entry to its soil from travelers from the seven southern African countries.

"We must act quickly to protect Canadians," Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, explained in a press conference.

US adds Malawi to list

At the same time, the United States in turn announced that it was closing its borders on Monday to travelers from the same seven southern African countries by adding Malawi to the list.

Only US nationals and permanent residents of the United States will be allowed to enter the country, a senior US official said.

The move comes as US President Joe Biden had just reopened borders to travelers from around the world in early November, provided they are vaccinated against Covid, after 20 months of restrictions.

"This measure was introduced in the name of the precautionary principle, in the light of the new variant of Covid-19 which circulates in southern Africa", explained the American official to journalists.

“Our scientists and public health officials are working quickly to learn more about this variant,” he added.


Coronavirus: New South African variant pushes France to suspend arrivals from southern Africa


Coronavirus: Why is the new South African variant B.1.1.529 worrying the world?

  • Covid 19

  • South Africa

  • epidemic

  • Africa

  • Trip

  • Omicron variant

  • Coronavirus

  • United States

  • Flight

  • Health

  • Canada

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