In view of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron, many countries have restricted air travel from South Africa and other countries affected by the new variant.
First reported to the World Health Organization in South Africa less than a week ago, the new variant has rapidly spread everywhere from Africa to the Pacific, and from Europe to Canada, causing dozens of countries to announce travel restrictions.
Here is a list of countries closing its borders to South Africa and ‘at risk’ countries:
Australia has suspended all inbound and outbound flights to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe for at least 14 days and has banned foreigners with a travel history to these locations within the previous two weeks from entering. The country has announced quarantine for those who are allowed to enter the country.
Brazil’s Presidential Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira has said his country’s air borders with South Africa, Botswana, Swatini, Lesotho, Namibia and Zimbabwe are now closed.
In India, the centre has asked its states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, where a new variant has been detected.
Canada Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has announced that any non-Canadian who has been in South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho or Eswatini from November 12 onward will be barred from entering the country.
After a confirmed case of South African variant, Japan announced that it will ban all foreign visitors beginning Tuesday as an emergency precaution against the variant, tentatively through the end of the year. The government is also requiring Japanese nationals and foreigners with resident permits to quarantine 14 days following entry.
Moreover, Japanese nationals traveling from Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho will have to quarantine at government-dedicated accommodation for 10 days and do a Covid test on Day 3, Day 6 and Day 10.
Bangladesh has suspended travel from South Africa immediately, joining a growing list of countries banning travel to the country amid fears of the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, first detected there. Bangladesh’s Minister of Health and Family Welfare Zahid Maleque said that they are aware of the emergence of the new variant and have decided to suspend travel from South Africa.
Egypt has said that it has stopped direct flights from a number of southern African countries, including South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini.
France has suspended all flights from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini until December 1.
Saudi Arabia has also temporarily suspended flights to and from seven African nations including- South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini.
The EU has asked member states to put at halt all travel from countries in the southern African region after the new COVID-19 virus variant was detected and reported in South Africa. EU governments have also been asked to discourage travel to those seven countries.
The US also announced banning travel from South Africa and seven other African nations – Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi, in view of the variant Omicron.