Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has described the slamming of travel bans on Nigeria and other African countries by the United Kingdom and other western countries in the wake of the detection of Omicron Covid-19 variant in South Africa as travel apartheid.
The cleric thus urged the United Kingdom government to remove Nigeria and other countries from its travel red list.
There has been outrage over the inclusion of Nigeria, South Africa and other African countries on the United Kingdom’s red list over the Omicron variant.
In a series of tweets on Tuesday, the Archbishop said the UK should avoid ‘travel apartheid’, echoing the words of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Ambassador Sarafa Isola.
“With Omicron set to become the dominant variant in the UK, I appeal to the British government to remove Nigeria and South Africa from the red list – together with all other countries currently on it,” he wrote.
“We must find fair and effective approaches for those who are vaccinated and tested to enter the UK. I agree with the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK – we cannot have ‘travel apartheid’.”
Welby also stated that it was morally wrong to punish countries that are transparent with their discoveries regarding COVID-19.
He, however, canvassed for vaccine equity and condemned the hoarding of doses urging for cooperation to get vaccines to countries that need it the most.
“It is also morally wrong – and self-defeating – effectively to punish other nations for being transparent when they discover new Covid variants, as Archbishop of Cape Town (Thabo Makgoba) has said.
“The only route out of this pandemic is vaccine equity. We must end vaccine nationalism and stockpiling. We must get vaccines distributed in countries that need them the most. The choice is vaccine nationalism or human solidarity,” the Archbishop added.