South Africa says it is being “punished” for detecting new COVID variant

South Africa mentioned Saturday it is being “punished” for detecting the brand new Omicron coronavirus variant as extra international locations rush to enact journey bans and restrictions.

Driving the information: The U.S. imposed air journey restrictions from eight international locations Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Nations in Europe and Asia have additionally applied their very own journey restrictions in response to Omicron.

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The large image: South Africa, which has a few of the world’s prime epidemiologists and scientists, detected the variant early on in its life cycle, Reuters reviews.

  • The variant, identified formally as B.1.1.529, was first reported to the World Well being Group on Nov. 24, which then designated it a “variant of concern” on Friday.

  • Early proof suggests “an elevated threat of reinfection with this variant in comparison with different” variants of concern, the WHO added.

What they’re saying: South African officers mentioned Saturday that though new variants have been detected in different international locations, “the response to these international locations is starkly completely different to circumstances in southern Africa.”

  • “This newest spherical of journey bans is akin to punishing South Africa for its superior genomic sequencing and the flexibility to detect new variants faster,” the Ministry of Worldwide Relations and Cooperation mentioned.

  • “Wonderful science must be applauded and never punished,” it mentioned in a press release.

  • “Our instant concern is the harm that these restrictions are inflicting to households, the journey and tourism industries and enterprise,” South African International Minister Naledi Pandor mentioned within the assertion.

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