South African Health Minister criticizes travel bans

Phaahla told a media briefing that South Africa was acting with transparency and travel bans were against the norms and standards of the World Health Organization (WHO), which held an emergency meeting over the variant named omicron.

Scientists have so far only detected the variant in relatively small numbers, mainly in South Africa but also in Botswana, Hong Kong and Israel. But they are concerned by its high number of mutations which raised concerns that it could be more vaccine-resistant and transmissible.

The WHO designated omicron as "of concern," its most serious level, following a meeting of its technical advisory group.

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