SADC condemns unilateral travel bans on member states

by | Dec 8, 2021 | International | 0 comments

 

Hosia Mviringi

Southern African Development Community (SADC) has come out strongly condemning the unilateral imposition of travel bans against some member states.

Following detection of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus by South African Scientists late November this year, there was a flurry of travel bans by Western countries with the UK leading the pack.

In a statement Malawian President who is also the SADC Chairperson, His Excellency Dr Lazarus Chakwera expressed dismay at the “rushed decision taken by some countries”, predominantly in Europe and North America to ban international travel into selected SADC member states.

He described the action as being contrary to the spirit of international solidarity.

 

“It is unfortunate that these measures have been imposed without any reference to scientific evidence and are clearly discriminatory and unfair to the citizens of our region,” said Dr Chakwera in a statement.

 

“While we recognise the legitimate principle for each country to protect its population and minimise the importation of new variants of Covid-19, we condemn the knee jerk reaction that followed South Africa’s ground-breaking discovery of the new variant”.

The statement stressed that it was grossly unfair to blockade international travel to Southern Africa alone yet the Omicron variant has so far been discovered in over 23 countries worldwide.

Available evidence shows that the variant was already present in such countries as the Netherlands well before discovery and announcement was done in South Africa.

It is widely agreed that Southern Africa deserves to be applauded and supported instead of being ridiculed and isolated for being the first to detect and alert the world about the existence of this variant.

 

Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Malawi are some of the red-listed Southern African countries which are yet to record a case of the variant.

The travel ban is going to further hurt Southern African economies which were yet to recover from prolonged lockdowns. The tourism sector will be most hard hit by the travel bans.