There has been a lot of unhappiness at the speed at which countries have closed their borders to South Africa. The World Health Organisation says nations should rather wait to see what the data says before making knee-jerk reactions. #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - The World Health Organisation says countries need to work together to defeat the COVID pandemic instead of seemingly punishing other countries who alert about new variants as the virus continues to mutate.
Dr Thierno Balde from the WHO Africa office has urged the global community to be patient and wait for more information about how the newly detected Omicron variant behaves before imposing harsh travel bans on affected countries.
South Africa was put on the UK's red list within hours of announcing cases of the new variant and other countries have since followed suit.
Balde said, "I do think this work needs to continue again, have advocacy at different levels to try and have better understanding of the situation but also encourage countries to be more open and in solidarity to continue interacting and thinking about all the social and economic consequences and at same time it could discourage other countries from sharing information they might have, so this is another consequence."
"We all need to know. If we're not aware of what's going on in different countries and countries decide not to share information the risk will be more."
"This is something we have to handle at a global manner, collectively, and evidence based info we have at the moment... we really need to take the appropriate time to understand the dynamic of the transformation of this new variant, the effect on existing drugs, so these elements need to be done in an open manner."