South African scientists say that the omicron variant caused the surge in cases in the country’s Gauteng province, home to Johannesburg and Pretoria. Cases have increased from 550 daily in November to almost 4,000 a day as of writing.
The U.S., the U.K., the European Union and Israel have all suspended travel to and from South Africa and the surrounding countries of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The U.K. added Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia to the travel red list on Nov. 28.
The Western travel ban has also provoked a backlash among South Africans. Many have argued that they are being treated unfairly for “having outstanding research institutions and being transparent about their findings.”
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