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President Nana Akufo-Addo condemns travel bans on African countries over Omicron variant

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President Akufo-Addo has criticised the travel bans issued against some African countries because of the Omicron strain of the coronavirus.

He described the bans as instruments of immigration control.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking when he addressed a joint press conference at the Jubilee House, with the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, on Saturday, as part of a 2-day visit to Ghana by the South African leader.

“We repeated our firm opposition to all attempts to single out African countries for the imposition of travel bans, as instruments of immigration control, when we are told, for example, that the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which was recently sequenced and reported by South African scientists, was discovered much earlier in the Netherlands”.

The President’s comments follow the decision by the US, UK and EU to bar entry to travellers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Egypt, Mozambique, Malawi and Nigeria, following the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

President Akufo-Addo assured that fellow African countries would have Ghana’s support during the pandemic.

“I reiterated Ghana’s unflinching support to South Africa and, indeed, to all other African countries, in the common search for an end to the pandemic”.

The president of South Africa previously criticised the travel restrictions imposed after the emergence of the Omicron variant, and questioned the justification for them.

President Ramaphosa said: “the prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant.”

The World Health Organization has also warned against blanket travel bans, which it says will not stop the global spread of the variant.

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