South Africa has reacted angrily to the UK’s decision to ban travel from multiple African countries. The British government was concerned about the possibility of a Covid virus mutation that has been found in only a few of these cases.
On Thursday evening, the UK moved several African countries to its ‘red list,’ restricting travel to essential journeys and requiring all arrivals to quarantine.
The Covid restrictions on travel to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, and South Africa were imposed swiftly due to concerns from British officials that the ‘Nu’ B.1.1.529 strain of the coronavirus could be more transmissible, while vaccines “may be less effective”It’s not recommended.
Responding to the UK’s actions, South Africa’s foreign minister, Naledi Pandor, on Friday criticized the travel ban as risking causing damage to “both the tourism industries and businesses of both countries.”
South Africa’s Foreign Ministry has said it will seek to convince the UK to reconsider the restrictions. Meanwhile, President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to convene an advisory council on Sunday to discuss the country’s response to the Nu strain.
Scientists from South Africa supported the criticism and called for less attention on travel bans to focus more on strengthening vaccination programs.
“This virus can evolve in the absence of adequate levels of vaccination. It’s upsetting that it takes this to happen to get the point across,”Richard Lessells is a South African infectious disease specialist who spoke to Reuters.
Only 35% of South African adults have been fully inoculated against Covid-19 at the moment. This is despite the fact that the continent’s inability to match wealthier countries for vaccine supply.
On Friday, Belgium reported the first known case of the ‘Nu’ variant in Europe, believed to have been found in a young woman who had recently traveled to Egypt via Turkey.
Scientists are still analysing samples from the woman but they’ve confirmed that the results are good. “suspicious”These are not the Delta varieties, which dominate in Belgium.