The presidents of several African nations are teaming up to voice their opposition to travel bans recently imposed by leaders in the U.S. and Europe in light of a new strain of COVID-19 that experts are calling the omicron variant.
Breitbart reports that the presidents of Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) united with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa this week to speak out against the travel bans, which Ramaphosa called “a slap in the face.”
Here’s the backstory
South Africa was among the first nations to report seeing cases of the omicron variant. In response, the U.S. as well as countries in the European Union and the Middle East rushed to enact travel bans against countries in Africa in an effort to contain the new strain.
President Joe Biden, for his part, moved to restrict travel to the U.S. from African countries including Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi, and South Africa.
The order came despite the fact that Biden insisted a similar move by former President Donald Trump had been motivated by “hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering.”
What’s more, new reports have revealed that omicron was already spreading in Europe before South Africa announced it had turned up there.
We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) February 1, 2020
“A slap in the face”
Now, Breitbart reports that Ramaphosa is using “an ongoing west African tour to engage fellow heads of state, who have given Ramaphosa a platform to condemn the travel bans.”
Among those who have met with the South African leader is Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria. Following their meeting, Ramaphosa delivered a fiery condemnation of the travel bans, which he referred to as “a slap in the face.”
“The imposition of travel bans on South Africa and a number of countries in the southern African region are regrettable, unfair, and unscientific,” Ramaphosa said, according to Breitbart.
Ramaphosa also met with Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire. “As African countries, we are standing united against the imposition of arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions that are not only unscientific, but counter-productive in the long run,” he said in Nigeria, as Breitbart reported.
It looks like we can add his latest travel ban to the growing list of Joe Biden’s foreign policy failures.