By Arul Louis United Nations, Nov 30, : Secretary General Antonio Guterres believes that banning certain citizens from traveling is a form “Collective punishment”, and nations should instead use Scientific Methods in order to stop the spread of Omicron variants of Covid-19.Stephane Dujarric, his Spokesperson, agrees.
Guterres stated in a statement on Monday that he was deeply concerned by the isolation of southern African countries as a result of Covid-19 Travel restrictions.
He said, “I appealed to all governments to consider repeated screening for travellers, along with other appropriate, truly effective measures, in order to avoid the risk of transmission so that Travel and economic engagement can be possible.”
Dujarric explained Guterres’s statement by saying, “What Secretary-General is saying, is that ‘We think there’s more science-based solutions (like increased testing and even if individuals need to be in quarantine.We feel that blanket banning certain citizens is a form Collective punishment.
Many countries, including the US, have banned South African travellers.India, however, has adopted a new approach.
It requires that visitors from these countries undergo additional tests and quarantine them for seven days.
India has applied the new testing and quarantine requirements for several non-African countries to try to prevent the Omicron variant.
Apart from South Africa and Botswana the additional requirements will apply for travellers from all European countries as well as nine other countries that India has designated “at-risk”.
Guterres praised South Africa for its prompt identification of the Omicron variant.
However, he called the inequity in vaccine availability immoral.
He stated that “Africans cannot be held responsible for the low morality of vaccinations in Africa” and that they should not be punished for sharing vital science with the rest of the world.
Dujarric stated that “we are guided by our expert collaborators at WHO (World Health Organisation),” who have said that more research needs to be done on Omicron’s transmissibility, severity, and the effectiveness of the vaccines.
WHO’s Africa office criticised Travel bans, saying they could “slightly” reduce Covid-19’s spread but “place a heavy burden upon lives and livelihoods.”
It added that the restrictions should be scientifically supported.
Jen Psaki, the spokesperson for President Joe Biden, defended the US ban on Monday that targeted South Africa and seven other African nations.
She stated that the objective was not to punish, but to protect the American people.
Psaki stated that while the Omicron variant has been detected in some European countries, it is not possible to exclude African countries.”I would like to note that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Omicron cases in South Africa, and not as many, much lower numbers in Europe.”
(Arul Louis can reached at [email protected] or followed @arulouis
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