SA Aids Council applauds scientists’ move to alert world about Omicron

The council’s chief executive officer Dr Thembisile Xulu said the travel bans were not scientifically based and were hitting hard on the economies of South Africa and neighbouring countries also faced with the ban.

FILE: The webinar was in relation to the international Aids and STIs conference sitting in Durban this week. Picture: AFP.

DURBAN - The South African National Aids Council (SANAC) on Wednesday said South Africa should be applauded for the work done by its scientists who managed to bring the COVID-19 Omicron variant to the attention of the world instead of being handed travel bans.

This was said by the council’s chief executive officer Dr Thembisile Xulu during a virtual webinar on Tuesday. The webinar was in relation to the international Aids and STIs conference sitting in Durban this week.

Xulu said the travel bans were not scientifically based and were hitting hard on the economies of South Africa and neighbouring countries also faced with the ban.

While speaking in the webinar held to discuss COVID-19 and HIV & Aids under the theme “when the pandemics collide, Xulu said South Africa was penalised instead of being accredited for exposing the omicron variant.

“And this has resulted in devastating consequences for our economies and our lives. So, instead of being hailed we were punished.”

Xulu said the travel bans were a reminder of bans previously imposed on HIV positive people.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the call he received from Europe about the travel bans as “patronising and disrespectful.”