African public relations practitioners have lent their voices to the cry against the travel ban on African countries as a result of the onset of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus.
The PR practitioners under the aegis of the African Public Relations Association (APRA) aligned with the position of African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, that the ban was “unfair, non-scientific and discriminatory.”
In a statement signed by its president, Yemi Badejo-Okunsanya, vice-president, Robyn D’Villiers, and secretary-general, Jane Gitau, APRA said that “since the dismantling of apartheid in South Africa, nothing has evoked a throwback to that dark era in history as the current discriminatory travel ban against Africa by Europe and Canada at the outbreak of the Omicron variant of Covid 19 virus.”
APRA said, “Interestingly, of all the continents, Africa has the lowest infection and mortality rates. The current ban, which started with South Africa and now extended to 13 other countries, is completely illogical, considering that China, the United States and Germany are the leading Red Letter Covid territories.”
“What is happening is nothing short of travel apartheid which will hurt African economies, further endanger lives and threaten livelihoods. If the world is looking for a Covid scapegoat, Africa is the least qualified candidate because, as scientific findings show, the continent is still the safest place to be. That may not be pleasing to the more developed economies of the world, but it is the truth,” APRA asserted.
The PR association called on the African Union (AU) to speak up concerning the issue.
“African leaders must rise up in defence of the continent,” APRA said.
They then called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) “to prevail on those countries which have imposed unjust travel bans on African countries to lift such discriminatory restrictions immediately.”