Africa has been up in arms for the past week after what AFRAA referred to as stigmatization of Africa in a wave of knee-jerk travel restrictions over the emergence of the Omicron covid variant.
IATA warned that these restrictions were counter productive and risked disincentivizing the continent from reporting on covid. However the UK which led the world in in its reactionary response has now made a U-turn.
The Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) has announced in a press release that it is relieved that sense has prevailed and the UK has decided to relax the travel restrictions that were hastily imposed on South Africa and other Southern African countries following the announcement of the identification of the Omicron variant by South African scientists last month.
“It was clear from the start that restrictions, the intentions of which are debatable, were counter-productive and ineffective. We trust that policy makers and political leaders will take their lead from science and harmonise their adoption of measures for safe air travel that are recommended by the World Health Organisation and its UN sister body, the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
At the same time, governments that have imposed restrictions on air travel ought to provide financial relief to airlines, their service providers and employees who have all been negatively affected by these restrictions” said AASA CEO, Aaron Munetsi.