Do not blame South Africa’ for the Omicron variant

    Countries are unfairly punishing South Africa for detecting the new coronavirus variant, scientists say. This will deter open science and research collaborations.

    When South African scientists announced last week that they have sequenced the genome of a new and potentially more contagious variant of SARS-CoV-2, the deadly virus wreaking havoc around the world since January 2020, the EU, US and the UK immediately imposed travel bans.

    Scientists and government officials speaking at this week’s Science Forum South Africa 2021 decried the unilateral decision of world leaders to stop flights from South Africa and neighbouring countries, which they say is stifling efforts to promote open scientific cooperation, without sufficient proof that the variant Omicron actually originated in South Africa.

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