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POLL | Has the Omicron variant changed your travel plans?

02 December 2021 - 13:08
The discovery of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron has left many travellers hanging, after the steady stream of travel bans imposed since it was flagged a 'variant of concern'. Stock image.
The discovery of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron has left many travellers hanging, after the steady stream of travel bans imposed since it was flagged a 'variant of concern'. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/TRANIKOV STUDIO

The discovery of the new Covid-19 variant Omicron has left many travellers hanging, with a steady increase in travel bans since it was flagged a “variant of concern”.

Little is known about the new variant, including how severe its symptoms are or how effective existing vaccines are against it.

However, many countries have moved to close their entry ports to multiple African countries, including SA. Other countries have limited travel from affected areas to citizens only.

Addressing the nation on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa slammed the travel bans as “unjustified and not informed by science”.

“These restrictions unfairly discriminate against our country and our Southern African sister countries. The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant,” said Ramaphosa. 

He said the only thing the prohibition on travel would do is further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine their ability to respond to, and recover from, the pandemic. 

“We call on all those countries that have imposed travel bans on our country and our Southern African sister countries to urgently reverse their decisions and lift the ban they have imposed before any further damage is done to our economies and the livelihoods of our people,” he said. 

On Wednesday, Ramaphosa also criticised African countries banning or suspending flights from SA, saying they should not react “like our former colonisers” in imposing travel bans. 

Rwanda, Mauritius, Seychelles and Egypt are among countries that imposed travel restrictions against SA travellers. 

Booster shots available for adults

As of Wednesday, adults in SA with conditions that may weaken their immune systems can now access an additional Covid-19 vaccine dose. 

This comes after Ramaphosa said the country was looking at booster vaccines for people at greatest risk and for whom a booster may be beneficial.

Ramaphosa said health workers who participated in the Sisonke trial were being offered Johnson & Johnson booster doses. 

Pfizer has filed an application to the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (Sahpra) for a third dose to be administered after the two-dose primary series.

The health department said Sahpra's decision regarding Pfizer's booster application could be expected soon.  

Boosters will be phased in, starting with 60-year-old citizens and older. Those who wish to get a booster shot will need to download the form and it needs to be filled by their doctors. 


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