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The Secretary-General of the United Nations condemns African travel bans.

Following Africa’s discovery of a new ‘’ variant of the coronavirus, several countries have placed strict travel restrictions on South Africa and many other countries.

Travel bans have been imposed by around the world, fearing for their own safety. However, South African have characterized the decision as a hasty and politically motivated decision, rather than a scientific one. The Health Organization and several health experts have come to the conclusion that the restrictions and travel bans are unnecessary and ineffective in containing the spread of the virus, which may have begun spreading weeks before it was even identified.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has expressed dissatisfaction with the restrictions placed on African countries, which is similar to the views expressed by the Health Organization. “The people of Africa cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available in Africa — and they should not be penalized for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the rest of the world,” he wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I commend the South African government, as well as the scientific and communities, for acting swiftly to identify the emergence of a new -19 variant,” he said at the outset of his statement.

With a virus that is truly borderless, travel restrictions that isolate any one country or region are not only deeply and punitive, they are also ineffective, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. His recommendation was for countries to of travelers rather than imposing travel restrictions.

“I appeal to all governments to consider repeated testing for travelers, in conjunction with other appropriate and truly effective measures, with the objective of avoiding the of transmission in to allow for travel and engagement,” Guterres said in a statement, adding that “this is the only way to reduce the risk of transmission while allowing for travel and economic engagement.”

The Health Organization (WHO) stated earlier this week that travel restrictions do little to slow the spread of the virus but have a significant impact on people’s economic and social lives, urging countries to reconsider their restrictive policies.

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