By John Ikani
UAE and US have announced suspension of entry of travellers from seven southern African countries.
The travel ban followed the detection of Omicron, the highly transmissible new variant of COVID in the region.
UK and EU have already imposed travel bans on the southern African countries.
The General Civil Aviation Authority and the National Authority for Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management announced the suspension of entry for travellers from South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique on all flights.
Transit passengers arriving from the countries are also barred.
The travel suspension will be effective from November 29.
This includes suspending the entry of travellers who were in these countries during a period of 14 days before coming to the UAE.
However, flights will be allowed to transport passengers from the UAE to these countries.
It will also allow the transfer of excluded groups which include official delegations and UAE citizens, diplomatic missions approved between the UAE and these countries and holders of golden visa.
Similarly, the US said it will impose travel ban on South Africa and seven other countries starting on Monday.
The decision was made on the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the COVID-19 Response Team, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the President’s Chief Medical Advisor.
“Our scientists and public health officials are working quickly to learn more about this variant,” the official said.