In response to the UK government ban on flights from southern African countries, the South African government has stated that restrictions on travelers due to the newly identified COVID-19 variant was unjustified.
Joe Phaahla, the South African Health Minister, stated that the country was acting with transparency and that ravel bans were in dissonance to the norms and standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
An emergency meeting has been held by WHO on the omicron variant. The variant is believed to be the deadliest variant so far with experts warning that it could reduce the effectiveness of vaccines due to its mutation profile.
While only relatively small numbers of patients with variant have been detected, the high number of mutation raises concerns of vaccine resistance and transmissibility.
South African Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, stated that the immediate concern of the SA government is the damage the travel restrictions will have on the tourism industry of both the UK and South Africa.
South Africa has been the worst hit of all African countries by the pandemic. There have been more than 89,000 deaths and nearly 3 million reported infections.
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