The claims of COVID-19’s new variant – Omicron initially announced to have started in South Africa have been denied as the virus was already in the Netherlands, Europe before it was detected by South African scientists.
The claims led to nations banning flights from Southern African countries, an action criticised by South Africans, the World Health Organisation, and the United Nations.
WHO urged that Southern Africa (South Africa and Botswana) specifically should be applauded for coming forth about the new variant and not risking people’s lives.
“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,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.
Belgium and Germany confirmed that the variant samples were in those countries before South Africa alerted the world.
So far there are 42 confirmed cases of Omicron coronavirus in the European Union.