UN boss warns of ‘travel apartheid’ over restrictions

The African Union and United Nations have jointly criticised travel restrictions put on several Southern African countries following the discovery of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned that the restrictions could lead to “travel apartheid”, describing them as “deeply unfair, punitive and ineffective” in stopping the spread of the variant.

He said Africans should not be collectively punished for sharing health information with the world.

The AU chairperson Chairperson Mahamat Faki said wealthier nations should help the continent increase its vaccination rates which currently stand at under 6% while some developed countries were already giving third booster shots.

It comes just a day after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Nigerian counterpart asked countries to reverse the travel bans.

The World Health Organization says at least 23 countries globally have now reported cases of Omicron.

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