The African Union has called for an urgent end to travel restrictions imposed on some of its member states, saying the measures effectively penalize governments for timely data sharing in line with international health regulations.
The measures act “as a disincentive for information sharing in the future, potentially posing a threat to health security on the continent and globally,” the AU said in a statement.
Late last month, European Union states, the United States and Britain, among other nations such as Israel, imposed travel curbs on seven southern African countries after they reported several cases of the Omicron variant, which is considered highly infectious.
Similarly, governors of the 36 states of the federation, under the umbrella of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), yesterday, rejected the travel ban imposed on the country by the United Kingdom and Canada over concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus detected in Nigeria.
The two chambers of the National Assembly – Senate and the House of Representatives – also joined the growing band of bodies condemning the ban and seeking its reversal.
NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, in the statement, condemned the hasty decision taken by Canada and the United Kingdom and described it as “precipitated, unfair and discriminatory.”
The NGF urged the World Health Organisation (WHO) to intervene by setting uniform standards that are acceptable to all for banning countries across the globe.
The NGF said it was very discouraging to note that there are several countries that have reported cases of Omicron similar to or higher than Nigeria’s, that have not been banned from entry to the UK or Canada.