Qatar Airways will bar passengers from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, United Airlines Monitoring Situation

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While the new COVID-19 variant raises concern among the general public and scientists, this has prompted some countries and airlines to impose travel restrictions especially to passengers coming from the countries witnessing the new variant.

Today, Doha-based Qatar Airways tweeted that it will not allow passengers to board flights from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique with immediate effect even as the Arab airline “continues to review the situation on a daily basis”.

The airline also clarified that it will still transport passengers to South Africa and Zimbabwe and Mozambique “in line with current restrictions.”

Meanwhile, United States carrier United Airlines said it’s still monitoring how the new 212(f) travel restrictions to Africa may impact demand, and remains committed to maintaining a safe and vital link for essential supplies and personnel to transit between the African continent and the United States as feasible.

“We don’t have any adjustments to our schedule at this time,” United Airlines announced noting that the planned launch of its inaugural flight between Washington Dulles Airport and Lagos, Nigeria this coming Monday, Nov. 29 will continue as scheduled.

United also plans to restart service between New York/Newark and Cape Town on Dec. 1 as scheduled.


This follows the increasing concern that the new COVID-19 variant is more transmit

On Friday, the Africa CDC announced the emergence of B.1.1.529 covid-19 variant that also coincided with the sudden increase in cases in the Gauteng province in South Africa over recent days.

The variant was first detected by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in South Africa who announced the detection of a new variant of the SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, following genomic sequencing.

While more investigations are underway to determine the possible impact of these mutations on the capacity of the virus to transmit more efficiently and its impacts to vaccine effectiveness and evading immune response, Africa CDC’s recommendations to AU Member States and health authorities strongly recommends the implementation of public health and social measures (PHSM), including mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing, as crucial to limit the transmission of COVID-19 regardless of the emergence of new COVID-19 variants.

The Africa CDC has strongly discouraged the imposition of travel ban for people originating from countries that have reported this variant, noting that over the duration of this pandemic, the imposition of travel bans on travelers from countries where a new variant is reported has not yielded a meaningful outcome and rather implementing PHSM should be prioritized.

Countries like the US, UK, Germany, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Qatar and Egypt among others are tackling the mutated virus with an aggressive ban on travellers from places South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland.


By Victor Shalton Odhiambo

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