WINDHOEK, NOV 29 – Travel bans and restrictions imposed on the countries from the SADC region have been called into question by Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, whom on Monday described them as lacking in scientific basis. In a statement, Shifeta said: “The travel ban and restrictions imposed on the countries from the SADC region lack scientific basis and are unacceptable, discriminatory and in contradiction of guidance from the World Health Organisation.”
Moreover, he said that the ministry regretted the decision by the United Kingdom to place Namibia and other sister countries rom the SADC region on the red list due to the detection of the Omicron COVID-19 variant in Botswana and South Africa.
“The Ministry also discontents steps taken by several European Union member states, the United Arab Emirates and other countries that have imposed restrictions and stricter measures against travelers from Namibia.”
In addition, he said that it would negatively affect the tourism industry which has many livelihoods dependent on it.
“As we enter the festive season, this is a particularly crushing blow to our tourism industry and for the many lives and livelihoods that depend on it. Namibia has proven and remains committed to being a safe destination for business and leisure travel and we will continue to comply with and enforce necessary health and safety measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Minister Shifeta further urged Namibians to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to comply with established public health protocols while he also assured that the government would hold continuous dialogue with the countries that had imposed restrictions.
“The Government of the Republic of Namibia will continue, through diplomatic channels, to engage the relevant authorities in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, European Union and its member states and other relevant countries to ensure that these unjustified restrictions are reversed.” – firstname.lastname@example.org