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Being ‘punished’ for detecting new Covid variant omicron: SA

Being ‘punished’ for detecting new Covid variant omicron: SA
People line up to get on an overseas flight at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on Nov. 26, 2021.
JOHANNESBURG, NOV 27 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 11/27/2021 12:00:34 PM IST

South Africa complained Saturday that it is being “punished” for detecting a new Covid-19 variant Omicron which the World Health Organization has termed a “variant of concern” and is more transmissible than the dominant Delta strain.

The decision by a number of countries around the world to ban flights from southern Africa following the discovery of the variant “is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

“Excellent science should be applauded and not punished,” it said.

The ministry pointed out that new variants had been discovered in other parts of the world.

“Each of those cases have had no recent links with Southern Africa, but the reaction to those countries is starkly different to cases in Southern Africa,” it said.

Israel and Belgium announced after South Africa that they also had detected cases of Omicron.

Government insisted that South Africa’s “capacity to test and its ramped-up vaccination programme, backed up by a world-class scientific community should give our global partners the comfort that we are doing as well as they are in managing the pandemic”.

With more than 2.95 million cases and 89,783 deaths, South Africa is the worst-hit country in Africa by the pandemic.

Hundreds of foreigners on family or business trips in South Africa desperately tried to get back home on the last available flights as several nations imposed restrictions on travellers due to the discovery of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 in this country.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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