news

Dec. 27, 2021

OWN CORRESPONDENT

2 min read

US to lift travel ban on Lesotho

US to lift travel ban on Lesotho

The White House Assistant Press Secretary, Kevin Munoz

Story highlights

  • White House says ban was imposed at time US was really in dark about Omicron
  • Ban is expected to be lifted by New Year’s Eve

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THE United States (US) is expected to lift travel restrictions it imposed on Lesotho and seven other southern African countries over the new coronavirus strain.

The ban which was imposed on November 29 also involved South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Namibia, Malawi as well as Mozambique and is expected to be lifted by New Year's Eve.
The White House Assistant Press Secretary, Kevin Munoz said the restrictions gave the US time to understand Omicron and to know that the existing vaccines work against the Omicron variant.
For his part, the White House Chief Coronavirus Adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci said that the travel restrictions were imposed at a time when the US was really in the dark about Omicron.
“We all feel very badly about the hardship that might have been put upon all the African countries,” he said.
Earlier this month, the Ministers of Finance and of Trade and Industry from Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini and SA raised their concern on the travel ban and restrictions imposed by the US and several European against travellers from their countries due to the detection of Omicron COVID-19 variant.
In a statement released by the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), the ministers argued that the ban was unfair, irrational and unscientific.

They further contended that it would negatively impact transparency in the sharing of information relating to COVID-19 in the future, adding that they believed it was an act of punishment for openness, transparency and discouraged high quality scientific practices.

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The ministers showed that the ban would impact negatively on the economies of the region, undermine the recovery efforts and further increase poverty and hunger as the ban was particularly a crushing blow to the tourism industry and for the many lives and livelihoods that depend on it.
The restrictions were first imposed by the EU and UK. The US and a host of other countries followed thereafter.

Last week, Canada lifted its own ban on foreign travellers from 10 African countries. LeNA

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