Prof Karim reacts to SA travel bans, says wrong steps being followed

The United Kingdom was the first to close its borders to southern Africans last Thursday, just hours after the Health Department confirmed the new coronavirus variant.

Infectious disease specialist Professor Salim Abdool Karim. Picture: @UKZN/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Epidemiologist and member of the African Task Force for Coronavirus, Professor Salim Abdool Karim, said that the decision by several countries to "punish" South Africa over the detection of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant was ludicrous and did not make sense.

The United Kingdom was the first to close its borders to southern Africans last Thursday, just hours after the Health Department confirmed the new coronavirus variant.

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Since then, the United States, Israel and some parts of Europe have all confirmed cases within their borders, raising questions about the scientific logic behind the decision for most of them to only cut off travel from southern Africa.

Karim said that this was supposed to be a time for the international world to stand together.

"Further, the way in which you deal with a pandemic is that you stand together against the virus. You don't stand against each other, that's not how you deal with a pandemic, that's exactly the wrong steps that are being followed."