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Rwanda becomes first Sub-Saharan African country to ban flights to southern Africa over Omicron COVID

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Rwanda becomes first Sub-Saharan African country to ban flights to southern Africa over Omicron COVID

Rwanda has turn out to be the primary nation in Sub-Saharan Africa to impose a ban on inbound and outbound flights to southern African international locations within the wake of the brand new Covid-19 variant, Omicron.

 

The brand new variant was first reported in South Africa final week, with circumstances subsequently detected in a number of international locations, and lots of governments have moved swiftly to reimpose flight restrictions. 

 

In a press assertion, the nation’s prime minister, Dr. Édouard Ngirente, mentioned that after a rare Cupboard assembly, it was resolved that “direct flights between Rwanda and southern Africa are quickly suspended”.

 

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The international locations affected by the ban are Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

 

The World Well being Group (WHO) warned Monday that the brand new variant poses a “very excessive” danger globally.

 

Even when the brand new pressure proves to be much less lethal than earlier ones, it might put extra strain on hospitals if it spreads extra simply, it mentioned.

 

“If one other main surge of Covid-19 takes place pushed by Omicron, penalties could also be extreme,” WHO mentioned in a technical observe, including that “so far, no deaths linked to Omicron variant have been reported.”

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday protested the “unjustified” journey bans and referred to as for his or her fast reversal.

 

“We name upon all these international locations which have imposed journey bans on our nation and our southern African sister international locations to right away and urgently reverse their choices,” Ramaphosa mentioned.

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Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera on his half accused Western international locations of “Afrophobia” for shutting their borders.

 

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The top of the WHO in Africa additionally cautioned towards border closures.

 

“With the Omicron variant now detected in a number of areas of the world, setting up journey bans that focus on Africa assaults international solidarity,” WHO regional director normal Matshidiso Moeti mentioned in an announcement.

 

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