'Absurd, nonsensical, dangerous': Canada blasted for Omicron COVID-19 variant travel ban against African countries

·3 min read

As Canada continues to shift its travel rules in the face of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, some are not in support of the concept of a travel ban for specific countries.

On Sunday, Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that it is "disappointing" that some countries are blocking flights from southern Africa.

"It remains disappointing that some countries continue to block direct flights from southern Africa due to the Omicron variant. It’s also dismaying that some countries aren’t accepting negative [COVID-19] tests from countries of origin & instead require tests only from third countries."Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO

"Respect is owed to the science and technology expertise in African countries as well as their transparency and sharing, including data related to the Omicron variant of concern. This is helping to ensure a safer world for all people everywhere."

Last week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres slammed what he called the COVID-19 "travel apartheid."

"The people of African cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available to them, nor should they be collectively punished for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world," Guterres said. "Travel restrictions that isolate any one country or region are not only deeply unfair and punitive, they are ineffective."

"I appeal to all governments to consider instead repeated testing for travellers, together with other appropriate and truly effective measures, and this is the only way to reduce the risk of transmission while allowing for travel and economic engagement... We have the instruments to have safe travel, let's use those instruments to avoid this kind of, allow me to say, travel apartheid."

Other individuals have also taken to social media to criticize the travel ban measures and the resulting effects of these bans.

The Canadian government announced a flight ban for foreign nationals coming to Canada from 10 southern African countries: Nigeria, Malawi, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini and Namibia.

Any travellers who have been to those 10 countries in the the 14 days before their arrival to Canada will need to isolate in a quarantine hotel as they await their arrival test result, then they can continue their 14 day quarantine at home.

On Saturday, the Canadian government announced a change to these rules to that allows Canadians in South Africa to travel home if they have a negative COVID-19 molecular test taken within two days of departure, on flights transiting through Frankfurt on or before Dec. 13.

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