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A new variant of the coronavirus, omicron. South African authorities: our country was punished for detecting a new variant

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Our country has been “punished” too severely for detecting a new variant of the coronavirus, dubbed omicron by the World Health Organization (WHO), South African authorities said on Saturday. This is a reaction to the flight bans introduced in many countries from South African countries.

“This latest round of travel bans comes down to punishing South Africa for advanced genome sequencing and its ability to detect new variants faster. Scientific excellence should be applauded, not punished,” South African Foreign Ministry said in a press release.


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“We would also like to note that the new variant has been detected in other countries. Each of these cases is not related to South Africa. It should be noted that the response to these countries is radically different from ours,” the press release said.

It also stressed that WHO is advising against such radical measures for the time being in order to favor a “risk-based science approach” and that the South African government clearly supports this position.

Passengers tested at an airport in South AfricaPAP / EPA / KIM LUDBROOK

On Friday night, South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla condemned the immediate reaction of many countries to close their borders to South Africans. “Some leaders are looking for scapegoats to solve a global problem,” Phaahla said, calling it “panic.”

A number of countries have already introduced flight restrictions for South African nationals and several other South African countries, including the US, Germany, Italy, UK, Netherlands, Japan, Czech Republic, Thailand, UK, Qatar, Oman, Brazil, Egypt.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / KIM LUDBROOK

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