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South Africa complains it’s being ‘punished’ for alerting world to Omicron

People line up to get on an overseas flight at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday November 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
People line up to get on an overseas flight at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Friday November 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

South Africa, whose citizens are being blocked from entering countries around the world after the discovery of a new COVID variant in the country, says it is being “punished” and unfairly treated for sounding the alarm.

The decision by many countries to ban flights from southern Africa following the discovery of the Omicron variant “is akin to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants quicker,” the foreign affairs ministry says.

“New variants have been detected in other countries. Each of those cases have had no recent links with southern Africa,” yet the global “reaction to those countries is starkly different to cases in southern Africa,” it adds.

South Africa’s health ministry also slammed the travel restrictions as “draconian,” noting that they went “against the norms and advice by the WHO.”

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