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Arab Countries Ban Travel from African Nations Over New Covid Threat

Arab Countries Ban Travel from African Nations Over New Covid Threat

Saturday, 27 November, 2021 - 05:30
Planes that belong to the Royal Jordanian Airlines and other companies are parked at the Queen Alia International Airport in Amman, Jordan February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/File Photo

Several countries in the Middle East and North Africa have banned travelers from African nations due to fears over a new coronavirus variant.

Jordan's interior ministry, acting on recommendations from the health ministry, announced on Friday a ban for non-Jordanian travelers coming from South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Eswatini.

Morocco also banned travelers from those same countries due to fears over the new variant detected in South Africa.

"Moroccan authorities have decided to ban entry" to nationals of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe "as well as to passengers coming from or having transited through these countries", the official MAP news agency said, citing the foreign ministry.

A slew of nations, including the United States and European countries, have announced similar bans.

The UN's World Health Organization on Friday declared the recently discovered B.1.1.529 strain of Covid-19 to be a variant of concern, renaming it Omicron.

The variant has been blamed for a surge in fresh cases in South Africa, but has already cropped up in Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel and Botswana.

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