African Airlines Association: EU measure to block travel to African countries is discriminatory

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The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) considers discriminatory the travel ban imposed by the European Union on African countries because of the new strain COVID-19, while also stating that such a decision will worsen the aviation industry.

According to AFRAA Secretary-General Abdérahmane Berthé, imposing restrictions as strict as EU member states have done is stigmatizing African countries and not respecting restrictions on areas in the rest of the world.

"Why do you hit Africa when the virus is reported in other regions? Any attempt to stigmatize Africa through travel bans will not work. We must not confuse politics with science. The Omicron variant is now detected in several regions of the world, but travel bans appear to target Africa. This is an affront to global efforts to find a sustainable solution. ", said the head of AFRAA.

A similar approach was shared earlier this week by IATA, which states that travel restrictions do not affect COVID-19 infection rates and urged EU Member States to take further steps to minimize the risk of infection.

According to the African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), travel bans for travelers due to new viruses have not yielded a significant result. Instead, the CDC suggests that governments prioritize their public and social health measures.

In addition, world health authorities have criticized the travel ban imposed on African countries. World Health Organization Executive Director Mike Ryan said it was important to focus on the issue and not punish countries for doing their scientific work and being transparent in reporting new developments.

"These travel bans are based on politics, not science. It's wrong… Why do we close Africa when this virus is already on three continents? ”

Moreover, Amesh Adalja, a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center, said that travel bans do not work and only stigmatize a country, which in this case is South Africa. As a result, countries that have isolated and reported the virus will be penalized for being transparent. 

Adalja also mentioned that the fight against COVID-19 is less predictable now, as tests, vaccinations and other tools are available, and travel bans should not even be discussed at this time.

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