SA travel: Ramaphosa demands countries lift ‘unscientific’ travel bans

Ramaphosa says banning travel from SA is unscientific. The president has ripped into Western countries who have blocked travel from SA.

SA travel: Ramaphosa demands countries lift ‘unscientific’ travel bans

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday night brought with it a lot of thoughts on the changes to travelling to and from South Africa. The president has absolutely torn into countries that have issued travel bans from South Africa. From “unscientific” to “discriminatory”, our president certainly didn’t mince his words. The amount of COVID tests coming back positive have jumped from 2% to 9% in the last week.

Despite this, and the discovery of the new Omicron variant, the country will remain on Lockdown Level 1 for now.

Also Read – What is the Omicron variant? Everything we know so far about B.1.1.529

Ramaphosa slams global travel bans for SA after Omicron discovery

Let’s start with just getting around the country through our own public transport. Ramaphosa revealed that discussions are now officially underway to look at making vaccines mandatory. A task team will make recommendations to cabinet.

Areas being looked at include the use of busses and taxis. This week, Business For South Africa called for a mandate that would only allow those who are vaccinated to travel in taxis.

So what about all the international travel bans now facing South Africa? Ramaphosa says government is deeply disappointed by the decision. He also says that the countries that have red-listed us, are going against a commitment made at the G20 summit.

“These restrictions are unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country and our Southern African sister countries. The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant.

The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Also Read – Ironic: Roland Schoeman tells professor to ‘do his research’ on vaccines

Word Health Organization stands with Africa

The World Health Organization is clearly in our corner. Just as Ramaphosa was speaking, the global body released a statement slamming the decision to red-list African countries.

The WHO says all countries carrying out travel bans need to wake up and follow the science.

“Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. If restrictions are implemented, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and should be scientifically based.

While investigations continue into the Omicron variant, WHO recommends countries to take a risk-based and scientific approach and put in place measures which can limit its possible spread. Flight bans have been imposed on southern African countries, but so far only two have detected the new variant. Meanwhile countries in other regions have reported cases of Omicron.”

World Health Organisation

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the current lockdown restrictions will be re-evaluated in 7 days.