South Africa blasts ‘knee-jerk and draconian’ global reaction to new variant

(THE GUARDIAN) – South Africa has angrily condemned travel restrictions imposed by countries including Britain as “knee-jerk and draconian” as it scrambled to assess the potential for the new Covid-19 variant to unleash a deadly fourth wave.

In a heated press conference on Friday, the health minister, Joe Phaahla, said his country had acted transparently by alerting the world to the B.1.1.529 variant, which was detected by its scientists earlier this week.

But others had responded by imposing restrictions on flights to and from the southern African region that were completely unjustified, he said. The UK had announced its decision to impose a temporary ban without consulting the South African authorities, he added.

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