Since South Africa’s discovery and outbreak of a new version of COVID-19 known as Omicron, countries all over the world, particularly Western nations, have taken extreme precautions to prevent people from Africa from entering their countries.
Following South Africa’s declaration in late November, no fewer than 20 countries in Europe, America, and Asia have imposed travel restrictions or bans on African countries, a move that has been criticized by many African countries as unfair and discriminatory.
Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Angola, Malawi, Eswatini, Zambia, Lesotho, Nigeria, and Namibia are among the nations whose citizens have been barred from entering the United Kingdom in less than a week since the new variation was discovered. The same treatment has been meted out to other African countries by Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, even Asia and middle east countries such as Saudia Arabia, Japan, India, and the United Arab Emirates have not been left out in the travel ban on African countries.
There have been about 269 million COVID-19 cases registered around the world as of the time of filing this report. The fascinating part is that Africa has reported almost 8.8 million cases, accounting for 3.2 percent of all cases worldwide. When you consider that the continent has a population of nearly 1.4 billion people, this is a significantly low amount.
Africa has reported 23,000 cases since the identification of the new strain. In the same time span, 3 million cases were reported in South America, whereas 1.73 million cases were reported in North America. There have been 4.8 million cases in Europe, and about 1 million cases in Asia outside of China. It’s crucial to note that the cases reported between November 28, 2021, and December 10, 2021, aren’t all ascribed to the Omicron strain, but it’s worth noting that while the new variant hasn’t caused an astronomical increase in cases in Africa, the continent has borne the brunt of it.
When the Delta variant was discovered in India and was described as a variant of serious concern in December 2020, very few countries imposed a travel ban on India. In fact, a report was produced by the British Broadcasting Corporation Reality Check team on why the United Kingdom did not ban all international flights in May 2021, 5 months after the discovery of the Delta variant.
The same leniency has not been offered to African countries, which have been blacklisted in blocks due to the Omicron strain, raising the question of whether there is a conspiracy against African countries.