- Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija has slammed western countries for placing travel restrictions and bans on people travelling from southern Africa
- She claims that the bans have political motivations and should rather be rooted in scientific evidence
- Boris Johnson has been criticised for speaking without action, particularly in terms of Covid-19 vaccine donations
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The African Union (AU)'s African Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chairperson, Dr Ayoade Olatunbosun-Alakija, criticised countries who placed travel bans on several southern African countries during an interview with the BBC.
Dr Olatunbosun-Alakija response to the travel bans earned her high praise on social media. While the banning countries placed the blame on southern African countries, she believes that western countries should have been ready for new developments in the pandemic, such as the Omicron variant.
“Had the first Covid-19 virus, the one first identified in China last year, originated in Africa, it is clear the world would have locked us away and thrown away the key,” she said.
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Dr Olatunbosun-Alakija slams travel bans
According to TimesLIVE, Dr Olatunbosun-Alakija believes that the travel bans are politically motivated and not rooted in scientific evidence, as they should be. She says that the move to ban travellers from southern Africa is unacceptable.
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The Omicron variant has been reported in many countries outside southern Africa, such as Israel and Belgium. Dr Olatunbosun-Alakija said in the interview that while people from these countries may travel freely, people from southern Africa should be afforded the same courtesy.
Currently, the countries which have banned South African travellers include Australia, the UK, Israel, the US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Seychelles and the Philippines. President Ramaphosa has appealed to these countries to revoke the restrictions.
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Boris Johnson criticised for lack of action
Former UK prime minister, Gordon Brown, has criticised the current prime minister, Boris Johnson, for speaking more than he acts, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. He specifically focused on Johnson's decision to ban travellers from southern Africa following the reporting of the Omicron variant.
Brown believes that instead of condemning southern Africa because the variant was discovered by scientists there, the UK should lead the international community in supplying surplus doses of Covid-19 vaccines to countries in the region that have a high demand and low stock.
While Brown notes the popularity of anti-vaccination sentiments and vaccine hesitancy in southern Africa, he requests that Johnson works on donating more vaccines to African countries than the US and other European countries, the Independent reports.
Reactions to Dr Olatunbosun-Alakija criticism of travel bans
"Health is a collective responsibility. Humanity should be at the heart of Healthcare. @yodifiji thanks for all you be/do in the global space re awareness/urgency for vaccine equity."
"Doctor, the shutdown should be global and simultaneous, in 21 days there will be massive reduction in infections and other measures put in place. The world can re-open properly thereafter. Otherwise we shall be seeing this disjointed approach, never ending pandemonium."
"I stand in solidarity with @PresidencyZA. South Africa should not be punished for being vigilant & sharing public health info. Nationalistic responses aren’t going to end COVID-19. Time to get behind a global plan to produce enough vaccines and vaccinate the whole world.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the looming 4th wave should not come as a surprise
Addressing the nation on Sunday, 28 November, Ramaphosa stated that the new Covid19 variant, Omicron, proves that in a few weeks' time, we will see an exponential rise in the number of infections.
Ramaphosa explained that within a week, the positivity rate in Covid19 infections went from 2% to 9%. He went on to say that the rise in infections within a short space in time was concerning.
Source: Briefly News