UN chief blasts 'travel apartheid' as world responds to omicron variant




  • In World
  • 2021-12-01 22:08:45Z
  • By The Hill
 


United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres blasted what he called "travel apartheid" as the U.S. and other countries implement travel bans to stop the spread of the omicron variant.

Guterres told reporters in New York he was concerned with the roughly 56 nations that instituted travel bans just days after the omicron variant was first detected in South Africa, Reuters reported. Guterres said the restrictions were "not only deeply concerning, but ineffective."

"We have the instruments to have safe travel. Let's use those instruments to avoid this kind of, allow me to say, travel apartheid, which I think is unacceptable," Guterres said.

After omicron was detected on Nov. 24, governments were quick to ban travel from certain countries - including the U.S., which barred foreign visitors from eight Southern African nations. Guterres said on Wednesday it was more effective to test travelers than outright ban them.

Omicron has now spread to the U.S. and about two dozen countries. The World Health Organization and national health agencies have still not determined whether the new variant is more transmissible or more deadly than other variants.

Guterres' criticism came just hours after the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus criticized "blanket" travel bans, which he called "deeply concerning."

"Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of omicron, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," he said, urging countries to instead screen passengers and quarantine international visitors.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical advisor, told a Zimbabwean reporter on Wednesday that the travel bans were necessary - and hopefully temporary.

"We wanted to see if we could buy time, temporarily, so I do hope that this gets sorted out and lifted before it has any significant impact on your country," Fauci said.

COMMENTS

More Related News

COVID Infection More Protective Than Vaccines Amid CA Delta Surge
COVID Infection More Protective Than Vaccines Amid CA Delta Surge

Those who were previously sick with COVID-19 had more protection from delta than the vaccinated, California health officials said.

'Completely full' ICUs as omicron wave stresses hospitals; FDA expands use of remdesivir. Latest COVID-19 updates

In Alabama, cases have soared and ICUs are full. Most of Vermont's hospitals face critical staffing levels, a study found. COVID-19 updates.

UN chief: World more unpredictable than during the Cold War
UN chief: World more unpredictable than during the Cold War
  • US
  • 2022-01-21 23:25:52Z

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday the current world is "much more chaotic, much less predictable" than during the Cold War between the...

Striking new data shows vaccines have protected New Yorkers very well against Omicron so far
Striking new data shows vaccines have protected New Yorkers very well against Omicron so far

Data for the weeks ending January 1 and 8 showed that when infections spiked citywide, vaccinated New Yorkers were less likely to get COVID-19.

GSK, Vir ramping up U.S. output of COVID antibody drug
GSK, Vir ramping up U.S. output of COVID antibody drug
  • US
  • 2022-01-21 17:19:09Z

The U.S. government last week signed a deal with the drugmakers to buy 600,000 more doses of the therapy, sotrovimab, for an undisclosed sum. The GSK-Vir...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World