South African Government: We owe praise for rapid detection of new strain of coronavirus, not punishment
The government of South Africa today expressed dissatisfaction with the "punishment" of that country after the decision of many countries to close the borders for passengers from South Africa, where a new variant of the coronavirus, called omicron, was discovered.
"The latest round of travel bans is punishing South Africa for its ability to detect new variants more quickly. "Scientific excellence should be praised, not punished.", the South African government said in a statement.
The statement said new variants of the virus had previously been detected in other countries and that the reaction of other countries in those cases had been "radically different".
A new type of coronavirus, called omicron, was first identified by South African scientists, but it is not certain that it appeared in South Africa.
So far, this variant of the virus has been registered in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel.
A number of countries, including the United States, Canada, EU members and others, have imposed travel restrictions on countries in South Africa due to the new strain of the virus.