For being the origin of the new Corona mutated .. South Africa criticizes its “scapegoat” status regarding the travel ban

The restrictions imposed by the countries of the world on travel to and from South Africa due to the emergence of the new mutation have shocked the African country’s economy, especially the tourism sector, as the country relies on the wealthier northern hemisphere tourists to bring in revenue.

Johannesburg- South African Health Minister Joe Bathla said that the step taken by many countries in the world to impose restrictions on his country due to the new mutant of the Corona virus “Omicron” (Omicron) is a “very cruel” step, adding – in a statement to reporters – that it is an unjustified decision and leads to counterproductive.

And the countries of the world had rushed to restrict travel from South Africa and its neighbors, in an attempt to contain the spread of the new mutated Corona, which the World Health Organization – Friday – classified as alarming, because it contains a number of mutations.

The South African National Council against the Corona Virus had postponed its meeting until it conducted an assessment of the latest developments in the pandemic, including scientific updates related to the new mutant.

different breed

The new mutant has caused an increase in the number of HIV infections in South Africa, as the Ministry of Health said – in a statement – that it had recorded 2,928 new infections, 53 of which were linked to the new mutant.

South African Foreign Ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela criticized countries that worked to close their borders to the citizens of the African country, citing the desire of those countries to blame South Africa, rather than working cooperatively to address the situation in accordance with the guidance of the World Health Organization.

Clayson added – in his interview with Al Jazeera Net – that the government still supports the World Health Organization’s call for international leaders, and urges them not to “engage in unexpected reactions” and impose travel restrictions.

Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States were among the countries that joined – on Friday – with the United Kingdom in restricting flights from South Africa, and a large group of countries followed in the same direction later.

The European Commission – the executive arm of the 27-nation European Union – has proposed a complete suspension of flights to and from South Africa, until there is a “clear understanding of the risk”.

However, the World Health Organization urged not to impose travel restrictions at the current stage due to the new mutation, warning that it may take several weeks to know whether the newly discovered mutations may make the virus more virulent or rapidly contagious.

economic shock

The restrictions imposed by countries around the world on travel to and from South Africa have shocked the African country’s economy, especially the tourism sector, as the country relies on tourists from the wealthier northern hemisphere to bring in much-needed revenue.

Frustration reigned early Friday at Johannesburg International Airport, as dozens of people attempted to return to the UK. Naim, one of the passengers inside the airport – told Al Jazeera Net – that the travel ban decision was “unfair, unjustified, surprising, and not beneficial for tourism in South Africa.”

And the Ministry of Health in South Africa says – in a statement obtained by Al Jazeera Net – that daily infections with the virus in the country remain few compared to some European countries, explaining that “some countries that now interact in this harsh way with South Africa, have daily infection rates of more than 50 alpha”.

Passengers board a plane at the runway of Johannesburg International Airport (the island)

Punishment for transparency

The prominent virologist Tulio de Oliveira – who announced the discovery of the new mutant – criticized what he called the “radical decision” to suspend flights to and from South Africa, and said at a press conference, “One is sometimes punished for being transparent, and doing things too quickly.”

Tulio believes that the travel ban decision is not effective, citing what happened in the United States, which was the first country to impose a travel ban on China at the beginning of the Corona virus pandemic, but it ended up becoming the most infected country in the world.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Darco) said – in a statement – that South Africa is “punished” for announcing the new mutator of the virus, noting that South Africa should be praised for identifying the new mutator, rather than being ostracized by the international community.

Darko stated that South Africa’s capacity for HIV testing and an enhanced vaccination program backed by a global scientific community should give its global partners the reassurance of knowing how the government is managing this health crisis.

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