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“Racism is a very brutal tool”

Other African leaders joined on Monday with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera in condemning travel bans against their countries – hastily imposed by US President Joe Biden and other Western governments and Asians after the discovery of the Omicron coronavirus variant – as unreasonable actions motivated by viral panic and racist animosity towards Africans.

Chakwera from Malawi on Sunday accused the Biden administration and others who have imposed travel bans of “afrophobia”.

Ramaphosa said the travel restrictions are “completely unjustified and unfairly discriminatory against our country.”

Botswana Minister of Health and Welfare, Edwin Dikoloti, concerned travel bans could interfere with the delivery of essential vaccines.

“We expected a million doses before the end of the year and now we are just confused because we don’t know if these vaccines will arrive because we have been redlisted by the manufacturing countries,” he said. he declares.

Dikoloti said only 19 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in Botswana and the first four patients were fully vaccinated foreign nationals.

“Most of these cases contacts have been traced, tested and quarantined while the four foreign nationals returned after completing their mandatory quarantine,” he said.

On Monday, the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism noted the travel bans “lack a scientific basis and are unacceptable, discriminatory and at odds with World Health Organization guidelines.”

“As we enter the holiday season, it is a particularly hard blow to our tourism industry and the many lives and livelihoods that depend on it,” the ministry added.

The African Union denounced restrictions, claiming that “the imposition of bans on travelers from countries where a new variant is reported has not yielded significant results.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres noted On Monday, he was “deeply concerned about the isolation of southern African countries due to new travel restrictions from Covid-19”.

“The African people cannot be blamed for the immoral level of vaccinations available and should not be penalized for sharing health information with the world,” argued Guterres.

“With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity”, Matshidiso Moeti, African regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO), noted on Sunday.

“[Chinese coronavirus] constantly operates our divisions. We will only get the best from the virus if we work together to find solutions, ”Moeti said.

Mia Malan from the Bhekisisa Center for Health Journalism in South Africa also accused Western governments with Africans as scapegoats for an epidemic they sparked by “hoarding” vaccines.

“Africa does not have enough vaccines because Western countries have bought everything and have even accumulated these vaccines. So they are part of the reason this new variant emerged, because there is a continent that did not have enough access to vaccines. Now they want to punish the very people who are the victims of their actions. It’s just not the right thing to do, ”she said.

A particularly furious denunciation Travel restrictions came from Jess Auerbach, a professor at the Northwestern University of South Africa, on Monday. Auerbach said the travel bans were an expression of “global prejudice” and noted that “racism is a very brutal tool”.

Auerbach was particularly angry that South Africa was being insulted and penalized for discovering the Omicron strain, potentially setting a dangerous precedent for developing countries that it is wiser to keep such findings to themselves than to ‘warn the world and risk ostracism.

“The rich countries should recognize and reward this excellent science and follow the scientific principles themselves. Instead, they punish him, risking dangerous repercussions, ”she wrote.

Auerbach suggested that the United States and Europe attack and penalize South Africa because they are embarrassed not to detect the Omicron strain themselves.

“The fact that a developing country captured Omicron before the UK, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong speaks volumes about our commitment to humanity and our scientific prowess. That the world reacted as it did, says all about opportunist racism, ”she accused.

“In the UK masks are mandatory again, but we all know Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to make that decision weeks ago – he waited until it was possible to blame another country. After Thanksgiving in the US there will be another spike – now it can be blamed on South Africa, not some polarized politics where so many people don’t believe in science, ”she said. added.

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