Omicron scare: South Africa slams nations imposing journey bans, calls it “knee-jerk response”

covid cases, covid vaccination, omicron, israel, covid 19 omicron variant south africa, new variant
Picture Supply : AP Buyers carrying face masks on a crowded sidewalk in Pretoria, South Africa


  • The choice by 18 nations to ban flights to and from South Africa was untimely: SAMA
  • Omicron variant additionally detected in Israel, Hong Kong, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Czech & Australia.
  • Omicron is taken into account extra harmful as a result of it has round twice as many mutations as delta.

South Africa’s high well being federation on Sunday slammed the 18 nations which have imposed journey bans on the nation on fears of the brand new doubtlessly highly-transmissible variant of COVID-19, Omicron, saying the world should keep away from such “knee-jerk response” if it needs “transparency” within the sharing of crucial medical knowledge.

The brand new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, first detected in South Africa, was on Friday designated as a “Variant of Concern” by the World Well being Organisation (WHO), which named it “Omicron”.

The choice by 18 nations to ban flights to and from South Africa was untimely, as there’s nonetheless not sufficient data on how harmful the variant could be, Angelique Coetzee, Chairman of South African Medical Affiliation (SAMA) stated. Coetzee additionally defended the choice to announce the findings, mentioning that South Africa must be lauded and never vilified for this.

“My suspicion is that as a result of our scientists are very alert and doing a number of sequencing within the background, possibly these European nations missed it due to the signs,” Coetzee instructed the TV information channel Newzroom Afrika.

The UK introduced on Thursday that every one flights to and from South Africa and 5 neighbouring nations can be banned from Friday following an announcement that the brand new Omicron variant of COVID-19 had been detected in South Africa.

Many different European nations adopted go well with, most of them indicating that solely their very own residents can be allowed again, topic to a quarantine interval. Many different nations have now began to severely regulate or ban flights utterly from the African nation.

Coetzee stated, “The signs will not be the identical because the Delta (variant). It is vitally just like the Beta (variant) and you may simply miss the signs. I feel what occurred with us in South Africa as clinicians is the truth that we now have merely seen nearly possibly one or two sufferers per week prior to now eight to 10 weeks on COVID-related signs.

“After we swiftly noticed younger folks, particularly males, coming in complaining of maximum fatigue, physique aches and pains, complications and a little bit of a scratchy throat, we then began to check once more and we discovered them constructive.”

Coetzee stated they determined to alert the Advisory Council on COVID-19 that there have been new signs that weren’t matching with the indicators of the Delta variant.

“We have been fortunate that we had a break in between and noticed the brand new signs. However now we’re being (seen as) the villains. It isn’t proper. It ought to by no means occur like this. If the world needs transparency, they would wish to deal significantly better with such a knowledge that has been made out there,” Coetzee stated.

The Omicron variant has additionally been detected in Israel, Hong Kong, Belgium Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic and Australia.

Coetzee stated, “All people is occurring in regards to the science behind the variants, however little or no is ever communicated across the signs. So, when you as a rustic need to defend your personal folks, take a look at what is going on.

“Alert your folks. Say that there could be risk of this going ahead. However there is no know method you possibly can simply have this type of knee-jerk response and say now you’re secure.”

Citing the excessive variety of infections within the UK and the Netherlands, Coetzee stated the brand new variant was already doubtless there with out authorities being conscious of it.

The brand new variant is taken into account doubtlessly extra harmful as a result of it has round twice as many mutations as Delta, however specialists say how a lot of a priority remains to be underneath investigation.

Coetzee’s feedback come as South Africans have been eagerly ready for what President Cyril Ramaphosa is anticipated to announce in a while Sunday after a gathering with the Corona Command Council.

Whereas scientists are calling for tightening the present Degree Considered one of a five-level lockdown technique, the enterprise group has warned towards it.

In the meantime, the South African nationwide service’s plans to dispatch a big plane to take passengers again to Mauritius and return others to South Africa have been scuppered by an announcement from the Mauritian authorities banning incoming passengers.

“It’s with nice disappointment that we now have simply acquired notification from the Mauritian authorities imposing additional restrictions prohibiting all incoming travellers arriving from South Africa to the island,” South African Airways (SAA) CEO Thomas Kgokolo stated in a web-based video message to prospects on Sunday morning.

“Consequently, SAA has now cancelled flight SA190 from Johannesburg to Mauritius on Sunday (afternoon). This combat will now function to Mauritius as a ferry to select up prospects out of Mauritius,” he stated. Kgokolo assured passengers stranded throughout the globe that SAA remained dedicated to aiding them.

“We’ve got made versatile modifications to accommodate all our prospects who’ve been affected by all these unexpected journey restrictions,” Kgokolo stated. “Outbound passengers who at the moment are unable to journey can be allowed one change to their future journey plans”.

Together with South Africa, its neighbouring states — Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Zambia and Angola — have additionally been slapped with journey bans, crippling their economies that are largely reliant on tourism.

Additionally Learn: Israel to ban entry of ALL overseas nationals in view of ‘Omicron’ Covid variant

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