Dr Ayoade Alakija, Co-Chair of the African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance for Covid-19 (AVDA), has reacted to the travel ban placed on many African countries after the Omicron variant of Coronavirus was detected in South Africa.
Speaking on BBC, Dr Ayoade Alakija questioned why the world is locking away Africa and not doing the same to other continents where the heavily mutated variant has been detected.
“Why are we locking away Africa when this virus is already on three continents?” She asked.
She added that the reaction to the Omicron Coronavirus variant detected in South Africa earlier this month shows that if Coronavirus had originated from Africa, not Wuhan, China, the world would have locked Africa out and there would have been no urgency to develop a vaccine because Africans are considered expendable.
She said: “Had the first coronavirus originated in Africa, it is now clear the world would have locked us away.”
“We cannot allow the world to do this to us,” she added as she called on African leaders to rise up and take actions that benefit the continent.
She said it is “inevitable” that the heavily mutated variant was discovered in Africa and she blamed this on the “world’s failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent and speedy manner.”
She continued: “It is as a result of hoarding (vaccines) by high-income countries of the world.”
The UK, US, and EU have imposed travel bans on African countries after the heavily mutated Coronavirus variant, Omicron, was detected in South Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against countries hastily imposing travel bans, saying they should look to a “risk-based and scientific approach”. However, numerous bans have been introduced in recent days amid concerns over the variant.
WHO’s Africa director Matshidiso Moeti said on Sunday, Nov. 28: “With the Omicron variant now detected in several regions of the world, putting in place travel bans that target Africa attacks global solidarity.”
Meanwhile, South Africa’s president has condemned the travel bans placed on its country and neighbouring countries over the new Coronavirus variant, Omicron.
Cyril Ramaphosa said he was “deeply disappointed” by the ban, which he described as “unjustified” and called for the bans to be lifted.
In his speech on Sunday, Mr Ramaphosa said there was no scientific basis for the travel bans and that southern Africa was the victim of unfair discrimination.
He also argued that the bans would not be effective in preventing the spread of the variant.
Omicron has now been detected in a number of countries around the world, including the UK, Germany, Australia and Israel.
Watch Dr Ayoade Alakija speak in the video below.