Africa CDC Warns Against Knee-Jerk Travel Ban

THE Africa Center for Disease Control (Africa CDC) says there is no science to prove  that travel bans work against reducing spread of the coronavirus.

By Michael Gwarisa

This comes as a reaction to the move by the United Kingdom (UK), Singapore and other countries that have imposed bans on Southern African countries for fear of of the new variant the B.1.1.529 that was detected by South African scientists.

In a statement, the Africa CDC said, “Africa CDC strongly discourages the imposition of travel ban for people originating from countries that have reported this variant. In fact, over the duration of this pandemic, we have observed that imposing bans on travelers from countries where a new variant is reported has not yielded a meaningful outcome. Rather implementing PHSM should be prioritized.”

The Africa CDC also recommended for the implementation of public health and social measures (PHSM), including mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing, as crucial to limit the transmission of COVID-19 regardless of the emergence of new COVID-19 variants.

"National health authorities should reinforce PHSM implementation and accelerate 
immunization of their populations, prioritizing high risk groups, ahead of upcoming
new waves of COVID-19 infections" 

Public health laboratories and researchers should closely monitor the rate of S gene drop out results.  Timely genomic surveillance should be reinforced through coordination with national and regional pathogen genomics laboratories.  The Africa CDC, through the Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative, will support this coordination at the continental level.

“Member States should notify Africa CDC immediately if they identify any new SARS-CoV-2 variant. Africa CDC will continue to monitor the situation and provide further guidance to Member States and the public as more information becomes available about the B.1.1.529 variant.”

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