Moussa Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission, says the travel restrictions that trailed the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant is an injustice against the continent.
Mahamat spoke during a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Wednesday.
Omicron — labelled a “variant of concern” — was detected by South African authorities and subsequently reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Subsequently, several countries in the developed world imposed a travel ban on South Africa and its neighboring countries.
The Canadian government also banned travellers from Nigeria and nine other African countries.
Mahamat described the development as stigmatisation that could not be justified scientifically or logically.
“They are condemning a country (South Africa) for having been transparent because its experts have worked tirelessly to inform the international community of the emergence of new variants,” he said.
“It hasn’t been scientifically proven that these types of measures are able to deal with this type of issue. It’s clearly, as you say, an expression rather of a form of injustice. It’s immoral to condemn Africa in that way.
“We are a world, a global world and when facing an enemy like the virus, like COVID-19, humankind as a whole must go hand in hand to fight the virus because a man’s life is man’s life.”
Mahamat said African leaders need to be “collectively outraged” about the development.
“Our message to the world as a whole is that we need to keep a cool head. We need to follow the well-being of humankind as a whole,” he added
“We need to genuinely demonstrate greater solidarity and justice. That’s the very least we can ask for, namely from our leaders, our political and social leaders.”