Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



South Africa "punished" for discovering Omicron variant

Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the South African Republic addresses a press conference after the G20 Compact with Africa conference at the Chancellery in Berlin on August 27, 2   -  
Copyright © africanews


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Senegalese President Macky Sall have expressed their displeasure towards rich countries over travel bans imposed on them since the country announced the discovery of a new coronavirus variant, omicron.

This was during the opening of the 7th edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa on Monday.

Senegalese president, Macky Sall called for unity amongst world leaders at a time like this, in order to fight the pandemic.

"We must continue to work together in solidarity. This pandemic, which is affecting all our countries, must bring us together on the side of solidarity in our response instead of adding a new divide between rich and poor countries." The president said.

Ramaphosa, tasked rich countries to rather help in finding a solution to the global crisis but not to punish poor nations.

"When South African scientists discovered, as President Macky Sall was saying, Omicron, the new variant, they immediately took on the responsibility of informing the world, -..., that a new variant has come through. And what is the result? The Northern countries impose a ban to punish the excellence that comes from Africa..."

"They basically said, 'we will not allow you to travel around', but lo and behold, Omicron is spreading all over the world." Ramaphosa said.

He accused rich countries of "giving only the crumbs to poor nations in their distribution of the vaccines.

At the end of November, a team of South African researchers announced that they had detected a new variant of Covid-19, Omicron. The reaction was immediate: many countries closed their borders, putting southern Africa on the world map within hours.

View more