By Malawi Exclusive
In his capacity as SADC Chairperson, Malawi’s State President, Dr Lazarus Chakwera, communicated via his Facebook page that he is deeply shocked and concerned with the unilateral travel bans imposed on SADC member countries by the UK, EU, USA, Australia, and some Asian countries. He has since labeled their conduct as typical Afrophobia.
A new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, has just been identified, however, the aforementioned countries have reacted unfairly, they have imposed unilateral travel bans on SADC member states, physically cutting the regional block off from the rest of the world. Chakwera argues that their reactions are not based on scientific evidence but rather some kind of hatred against Southern African countries.
In a similar development, the South African Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, described the unfair and selective travel ban on SADC member countries as a knee-jerk reaction, lacking scientific basis.Phaahla said the bans are “draconian” and “counterproductive”. He also added that the travel ban isn’t helpful and not constructive. It will make other countries less willing to share information.
It is sad that some Chakwera critics are recklessly in support of the ban, citing that it will reduce the president’s International travels. For them, the state President should always be at the palace working remotely. Contrary to critics’ reasoning, it has been proved beneficial for a new president to visit as many countries as possible sorely to pay courtesy call and strengthening bilateral relations in the process. So far such Chakwera’s International trips have proved beneficial to the nation.
Despite the fact that a number of European and Asian nations have suspended flights from southern Africa, the new potentially more contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus has also been found in more European countries as of Saturday the 27th of November 2021. Who knows, may be the variant was already in other countries but RSA doctors managed to identify it earlier. So far cases of new variant, also called B.1.1.529, have been confirmed in the UK, Germany and Italy, with Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong also reporting that the variant has been found in travelers.
Now that it is no longer a secret that Southerne African Countries are getting isolated from the global community in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic, it’s high time SADC member states join hands, work together to fight the pandemic. No need for blame games anymore.
It has been established that this variant is more deadly than the first, it’s a must for everyone to implement precautionary measures; let’s wear face masks, wash hands often, observe social distance, avoid overcrowded places among others.