As scientists around the world have their concerns raised over the fast-spreading new Omicron Covid-19 variant, the airlines and countries around the globe are prompted to bring new travel restrictions on the African continent. In light of this, Doha-based Qatar Airways has tweeted on Saturday that it won’t allow passengers to board flights from countries of South Africa and Zimbabwe any longer. The additional information related to this subject matter is provided on the official website of Qatar Airways.
The Current Situation
Qatar released a statement that said that it won’t allow passengers to board flights who have booked tickets for Qatar Airways from the cities in both the countries including Johannesburg (JNB), Cape Town (CPT), Durban (DUR), and Harare (HRE) until further notice is issued. According to the reports the flight from Qatar Airways scheduled from Johannesburg to Doha scheduled at 21:30 took off at 01:00 on Friday and no comment has been made by the airline in this regard.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, vaccinated travellers from both these nations are allowed to enter Qatar with a compulsory 2-day quarantine. However, both South Africa and Zimbabwe have been added to the “Exceptional Red List Countries” by Qatar. This decision has been taken after the World Health Organization has raised its concerns over the new variant which it believes could be highly transmissible.
The new Omicron variant was first discovered by South African scientists on November 9 and was reported to the WHO on November 24. Countries like the U.K., the US, and the Netherlands have already taken aggressive measures by banning passengers from the countries in Africa including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and more. Furthermore, WHO in a statement said that the preliminary study on the variant suggests that it has increased chances of infection as compared to other concerning variants.