29 November 2021

Deeply Concerned about New Travel Restrictions, Secretary-General Says Southern Africa Should Not Be Penalized for Sharing Crucial Information on New COVID-19 Variant

Following is UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ statement on travel restrictions related to COVID‑19, today:

I commend the Government and science and health community of South Africa for acting early to identify the emergence of a new COVID‑19 variant.

I am now deeply concerned about the isolation of southern African countries due to new COVID‑19 travel restrictions.  As I and others have long warned, low vaccine rates are a breeding ground for variants.  The people of Africa cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available in Africa — and they should not be penalized for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world.

I appeal to all Governments to consider repeated testing for travellers, together with other appropriate and truly effective measures, with the objective of avoiding the risk of transmission so as to allow for travel and economic engagement.

For information media. Not an official record.