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Omicron COVID-19 variant: Indonesia bans Nigeria others, Adesina kicks


As the world battles the Omicron Covid-19 variant, indications have emerged that the Indonesian government will ban travellers from Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana and three other African countries.

Though no report of Omicron has yet been reported in Nigeria, Reuters reports that Indonesia senior ministers told a news conference that the travel restrictions will take effect on Monday and reevaluated every two weeks.

Luhut Pandjaitan, coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, said Indonesian citizens who have been to the eight African countries and Hong Kong will quarantine in designated facilities for 14 days.

Pandjaitan also disclosed that travellers entering the country will have to quarantine for seven days compared to three days earlier announced.

“Omicron has spread to more countries, so to respond to these developments, today the government wants to carry out the following policies,” the minister was quoted to have said by Reuters.

On Thursday, South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases, NICD, announced the discovery of the new variant, B.1.1.529.

The World Health Organisation, WHO, had named it ‘Omicron’ and classified it as a variant of concern.

The global health organisation advised countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts, as well as ensure strict adherence to the COVID protocol to limit the spread of infections.

The Indonesia ban is coming on the heels of warning by the president of the Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank, AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, against labeling or penalising African nations for new COVID-19 variants and mutations happening across the world.

Adesina, in a series of tweets on Sunday, noted that Africa was not the source of the COVID-19 pandemic and should not be penalised for new variants, urging for global justice, equity, and fairness in access to vaccines.

“Africa should not be labelled and penalized for COVID-19 variants and mutations that occur randomly elsewhere in the world. Africa is not the source of COVID-19,” he tweeted.

“There must be global justice, equity & fairness in access to vaccines. Global vaccine supply system has underserved Africa. Protecting one’s home alone in the midst of a forest fire does not work. Put out the forest fire.

“Africa must accelerate the manufacturing of its own vaccines & set up its own “healthcare security defence system”. Africa must no longer outsource health security of its 1.8 billion people to the benevolence of others.”

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