The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) on Thursday disclosed some 11 African countries have so far reported Omicron COVID-19 variant cases.
John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC, told journalists in his periodic briefing that seven additional African countries have reported the Omicron variant during the past week, bringing the overall continental tally to 11.
The countries include South Africa, Botswana, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Senegal, Tunisia, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, according to the Africa CDC.
On Wednesday, the African Union (AU) had warned that travel and entry bans in connection with the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant limit the free movement of people and goods, imposing immediate and significant impact on African countries.
The 55-member pan African bloc called for the urgent rescinding of travel bans placed on southern African countries following the detection of the Omicron variant.
“Current evidence, which underscores global spread and community transmission of the Omicron variant, does not support selective travel bans imposed on Southern African countries,” the statement read.
It said that penalizing African countries for ensuring timely and transparent data dissemination in accordance with international health regulations acts as a disincentive for information sharing in the future, potentially posing a threat to health security on the continent and globally.
The AU stressed that recent travel and entry bans are imposing an adverse impact on the economy which will negatively affect the lives and livelihoods of populations concerned.
It further indicated that the travel ban created limited the capacity to access essential medical supplies needed to respond to the ongoing upsurge of cases.