The African Union (AU) warned that travel and entry bans in connection with the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant limit the free movement of people and goods, imposing immediate and significant impact on African countries.

The 55-member pan African bloc, in a statement issued late Tuesday, called for the urgent rescinding of travel bans placed on African countries following the detection of the Omicron variant.

“Current evidence, which underscores global spread and community transmission of the Omicron variant, does not support selective travel bans imposed on Southern African countries,” the statement read.

The AU stressed that recent travel and entry bans are imposing an adverse impact on the economy which will negatively affect the lives and livelihoods of populations concerned.

The AU further strongly commended the effective genomic surveillance systems in South Africa and Botswana that have led to early detection of the Omicron variant on the continent, and applauded scientists and public health authorities in both member states for timely and transparent data sharing to alert the international community.

It further indicated that the travel ban created limited the capacity to access essential medical supplies needed to respond to the ongoing upsurge of cases.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday disclosed some 11 African countries have so far reported Omicron COVID-19 variant cases. The countries include South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Tunisia, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.

As of Thursday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa reached 8,797,227 cases as the death toll stands at 224,231.

In Ethiopia coronavirus cases reached 372,711 with a death toll of 6,819 and 350,072 recovered cases, according to World meter data on 9 December 2021.

Source: Xinhua


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