DAKAR (Reuters) – South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday that the world needed to resist unjustified and unscientific COVID-19 travel restrictions that mostly hurt developing nations.
Global authorities have reacted with alarm to the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, which was detected in South Africa, with various countries re-imposing travel curbs.
South Africa said on Saturday it was being punished for its advanced ability to detect new variants early, as bans and restrictions threaten to harm tourism and other sectors.
“We need to resist unjustified and unscientific travel restrictions that are damaging the economies and sectors of the economies that rely on travel,” Ramaphosa said during a speech at the opening of the China-Africa Summit in Dakar.
“There is a world order where a country’s wealth is the difference between sickness and health,” he added.
Senegal’s President Macky Sall, who was hosting the summit, replied that Africa was in solidarity with South Africa and Africa “will not close its doors to South Africa.”
(Reporting by Edward McAllister and Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)