President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has appealed to world leaders to avoid labelling or penalising African countries for new COVID-19 variants and mutations occurring across the world.
In a series of tweets yesterday in the wake of the new COVID-19 variant spreading and causing panic, which thecable.ng reported, Adesina said Africa is not the source of the COVID-19 pandemic and should not be penalised for new variants. He called for global justice, equity, and fairness in access to vaccines.
He said, “Africa should not be labelled and penalised for COVID-19 variants and mutations that occur randomly elsewhere in the world. Africa is not the source of COVID-19,” he tweeted.
“There must be global justice, equity and fairness in access to vaccines. Global vaccine supply system has underserved Africa. Protecting one’s home alone in the midst of a forest fire does not work. Put out the forest fire.
“Africa must accelerate the manufacturing of its own vaccines and set up its own ‘healthcare security defence system’. Africa must no longer outsource health security of its 1.8 billion people to the benevolence of others,” he said.
Africa should not be labelled and penalized for COVID-19 variants and mutations that occur randomly elsewhere in the world. Africa is not the source of COVID-19. @WHO @DrTedros @CyrilRamaphosa @PaulKagame @AUC_MoussaFaki
Last Thursday, South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) announced the discovery of the new variant of coronavirus, known as B.1.1.529.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) later tagged it “Omicron” and designated it a “variant of concern” (VOC) because of its “concerning” number of mutations.
Scientists had said the new Omicron could evade the body’s immune response, making it more transmissible.
Apart from South Africa, the new variant has been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Israel, United Kingdom, and Hong Kong.
Since the discovery, many nations have rushed to place travel restrictions on South Africa and other countries in the region.
On Saturday, South Africa also said it was being punished for its advanced ability to detect new COVID-19 variants. It said the travel bans and restrictions imposed would affect its economy.