“Impulsive and ineffective reactions” to COVID-19’s Omicron variant will send more Africans into poverty

IFRC Africa Regional Director, Mohammed Mukhier

IFRC Africa Regional Director, Mohammed Mukhier

Photo: IFRC Africa

In response to the news that a number of countries are restricting travel from South Africa and several other countries in the region; Mohammed Mukhier, IFRC Regional Director for Africa, said:

“This impulsive wave of travel bans will further worsen the livelihoods of families across Africa. We need greater science-driven coordination to bring an end to this pandemic—not impulsive reactions. South Africa should not be punished for doing a good job of detecting a new COVID-19 variant, especially when imposing travel bans is likely to do more harm than good. The emergence of a new variant is happening against the background of low vaccine coverage, and this is where the focus should have been all along. We reiterate our call for equitable vaccine coverage. Variants will continue to emerge while the virus continues to circulate. Vaccine, data and knowledge equity are key to protecting the African continent and the world. We call on the international community to make decisions based on solid scientific evidence and avoid any move which may unjustifiably lead to a further worsening of the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.”

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