Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury has urged the British government to remove Nigeria, South Africa, and other African countries from the United Kingdom’s red list. Travel restrictions were recently imposed on those countries over fears of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus
Echoing the words of the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Ambassador Sarafa Isola, the Archbishop said the UK government should not fall into practices of “travel apartheid” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With Omicron set to become the dominant variant in the UK, I appeal to the British government to remove Nigeria and South Africa from the red list – together with all other countries currently on it,” the Archbishop wrote on Twitter.
“We must find fair and effective approaches for those who are vaccinated and tested to enter the UK. I agree with the Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK – we cannot have ‘travel apartheid’.”
Archbishop Welby added that it was wrong, immoral even, to impose punishment on honest countries that do not hide their discoveries surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also called on countries to strive for vaccine equity and condemned the hoarding of doses, insisting that the excess of the COVID-19 vaccine doses should be donated to countries that needed it the most.
“The only route out of this pandemic is vaccine equity. We must end vaccine nationalism and stockpiling. We must get vaccines distributed in countries that need them the most. The choice is vaccine nationalism or human solidarity,” the Archbishop added.