Namibia says travel ban over Omicron variant "unacceptable, discriminatory"
Namibia on Monday expressed regret over travel bans imposed by Britain and other countries on Windhoek and its southern African neighbors over the detection of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, describing them as "unacceptable, discriminatory."
"The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism regrets the decision by the United Kingdom to place Namibia and other sister countries from the SADC (Southern African Development Community) region on the red list due to the detection of the Omicron COVID-19 VARIANT IN Botswana and South Africa," the ministry said in a statement.
"The ministry also discontents steps taken by several European Union member states, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and other countries that have imposed restrictions and stricter measures against travelers from Namibia," said the statement signed by Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta.
"The travel ban and restrictions imposed on the countries from the SADC region lack scientific basis and are unacceptable, discriminatory and in contradiction of guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO)," it said. "As we enter the festive season, this is a particularly crushing blow to our tourism industry and for the many lives and livelihoods that depend on it."
Namibia has complied and enforced necessary health and safety measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.
"Due to our combined efforts, cases of COVID-19 in the country have even declined dramatically over recent months," it said.
The Namibian government will continue through diplomatic channels to engage the relevant authorities in Britain, the UAE, the European Union and its member states and other relevant countries "to ensure that these unjustified restrictions are reversed," the statement said.