‘The ongoing punishment seems pointless’: Piers Morgan calls for SA to be removed from travel red list

10 December 2021 - 12:30
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Piers Morgan has called for SA to be removed from the travel red list.
Image: Piers Morgan Instagram Piers Morgan has called for SA to be removed from the travel red list.

Broadcaster Piers Morgan has weighed in on travel bans amid the outbreak of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, calling for SA to be removed from the UK’s red list.

Southern African flights were banned from entering the UK last month after the detection of the new variant.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) issued an alert confirming the variant had been detected in many cases in the country, with more to be confirmed as test results  were reported.

Taking to social media, Morgan praised SA scientists for being the first to raise the alarm about the variant, and called on UK transport secretary Grant Shapps to scrap the ban.

“Given that Omicron is clearly everywhere in the UK now, the ongoing punishment of SA in terms of red list travel restrictions seems pointless and particularly unfair given it was their brilliant scientists who first uncovered this variant for the world,” said Morgan. 

He said people should take the variant very seriously.

“Omicron is spreading like wildfire and we don’t yet know how well vaccines will hold up to it. Please take it very seriously,” he said.

This is not the first time Morgan has spoken out against the travel ban on SA travellers. 

Last week he expressed dismay that the new Covid-19 variant was called the “SA variant” by international media houses.

“Omicron is not a ‘SA variant’. It’s a variant spotted and reported by brilliant SA scientists so fast the world has a chance to get on top of it. Could have originated anywhere,” said Morgan.

Speaking during his recent state visit to Ghana, President Cyril Ramaphosa criticised the bans imposed by the UK and other countries, including some African nations, as hypocritical, harsh and not supported by science. 

He described the restrictions as “travel apartheid”.

“Regrettably, and it must be said, they have associations with what we in SA knew as the ‘swart gevaar’.

“It is an Afrikaans language term used by our former oppressors to scare the white population about the perceived threat of black majority rule, and to keep themselves in power,” he said.