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World Omicron Variant: South Africa Requests Travel Removal

02:25  29 november  2021
02:25  29 november  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

South Africa tries to calm fears over new Covid variant 'Omicron'

  South Africa tries to calm fears over new Covid variant 'Omicron' Belgium revealed a case of the variant - named 'Omicron' by the WHO overnight - prompting EU chiefs to call for an 'emergency brake' on all travel from southern Africa after it was found in Israel.South African medics moved to calm a wave of panic over a new ultra-infectious and vaccine resistant Covid strain today as its arrival in Europe sparked fears of a new Christmas shutdown.

Des passagers font la queue pour quitter le territoire sud-africain à l'aéroport international de Johannesburg, le 26 novembre 2021. © Passengers' Jerome DELAY Tail to leave South African territory at Johannesburg International Airport, November 26, 2021.

President Cyril Ramaphosa called on Sunday evening 28 November countries who imposed travel restrictions to South Africans, after the detection of a new variant of the coronavirus, to their "immediate and urgent lifting", the judgment devoid of "scientific justification "

These restrictions are "ineffective" and have "no scientific justification". These border closures represent a form of "discrimination against our country" , denounces the South African President. Cyril Ramaphosa is angry and it makes it known to each country that close to South Africa. He did not hesitate to appoint them one by one to better put them in the face of their responsibilities. "We are deeply disappointed. We call all countries that restrict trips, to return to emergencies on their decisions before these measures cause more damage to our economies and revenues from our populations. »

We Know Almost Nothing About the Omicron Variant

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To read also: Covid-19: a new variant detected in South Africa

Cyril Ramaphosa asks South Africans not to panic, report our correspondent to Johannesburg, Romain Song . "We have to live with this pandemic," he warns. The head of state recalls that the solution is vaccination, while scratching in passing, developed countries. "Instead of banning travel, rich countries should rather - without waiting - support the efforts of developing countries to access sufficient doses of vaccines and produce them for their population.

Evoking the regular rise in recent days of the number of newly confirmed cases, particularly in the region of Johannesburg and Pretoria, he confirmed that the country was heading towards a fourth wave "in the coming weeks, if not. " But far from being inevitable, "we have a powerful tool, it's called vaccination," said the president. He called "each of those who are not yet vaccinated, to do it without delay" and motivate people around them to do the same. "Too many people express doubts". It's not just about protecting itself but also "reduce pressure on systems and health personnel," he added that a team dedicated to the government planned on the hypothesis to establish "Mandatory vaccination for certain activities and in some places". "It would be a difficult and complex measure" but if we do not act "seriously and some urgency", South Africans will remain "vulnerable to new variants," he warned.

WHO has joined the South African President's appeal to let borders remain open. "The World Health Organization is held alongside African countries and calls for borders to remain open," said the organization, calling on the country to "adopt a scientific approach", based on " risk assessment ". Several neighboring countries, also affected, denounced these measures in the day, the President of Malawi even went to the judgment "Afrophobes".

To read also:

Covid: The Omicron variant brings a panic wind on the planet

Omicron joins an alphabet of COVID-19 variants — here’s how it differs to those that came before .
There have been 11 COVID-19 strains named by the WHO, including the newly-identified Omicron. But what happened to the rest of them?At present, it is unclear whether Omicron is more transmissible than Delta, which prompted lockdowns across Australia's east coast earlier this year, or if it will impact vaccine immunity.

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