International news

South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla told Sputnik on Sunday that he is unhappy with the travel restrictions that many nations imposed on his country and its neighbors after the emergence of the new Omicron coronavirus strain.

"The action against southern African countries is unfortunate and will damage our economy. We trust that countries will follow the science and review their decisions. The Omicron variant is already widely spread to many parts of the world," Phaahla said.

The minister added that the government sees the travel bans on South Africa as an "irresponsible and unnecessary" step.

Phaahla also said that the health ministry was dissatisfied with the vaccination pace in the country.

"We are disappointed with vaccine uptake and will continue to promote vaccination to everyone in our country," the minister said.

Earlier in the day, South Korea, Oman, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia announced suspending travel with southern African countries. In the past few days, a number of countries also resorted to restrictions on travels with the region over the Omicron variant, which was classified by the World Health Organization as one of concern.

Source: ANI / Sputnik