South Africa’s president calls for lifting of Omicron travel bans

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –South Africa’s president has condemned travel bans enacted against his country and its neighbours over the new coronavirus variant Omicron.

Cyril Ramaphosa said he was “deeply disappointed” by the action, which he described as unjustified, and called for the bans to be urgently lifted.

The UK, EU and US are among those who have imposed travel bans.

Omicron has been classed as a “variant of concern”. Early evidence suggests it has a higher re-infection risk.

The heavily mutated variant was detected in South Africa earlier this month and then reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) last Wednesday.

The variant is responsible for most of the infections found in South Africa’s most populated province, Gauteng, over the last two weeks, and is now present in all other provinces in the country.

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