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Rwanda on Sunday became the latest country to suspend direct flights to southern Africa in a bid to prevent entry of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.

This despite the statement by the African Center for Disease Control that travel bans are of little use in managing the spread of the coronavirus.

The Omicron variant, which was first reported by South Africa to the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 24, has now been detected in at least a dozen countries.

“Although the variant has not been detected in Rwanda, its effects are potentially dangerous, and therefore Rwandans and residents of Rwanda are required to exercise increased vigilance in the practice and application of preventive measures” , said a statement released by the Rwandan prime minister’s office. after Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.

Direct flights between Rwanda and southern Africa are temporarily suspended, he said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was “deeply disappointed” by the bans against his country and neighboring states where the variant has been detected.

With the move, Rwanda’s national airline, RwandAir, effectively suspended flights to and from Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia and Harare in Zimbabwe.

Earlier today, RwandAir announced that as of Monday it will no longer embark passengers from South Africa and Zimbabwe heading to Dubai.

Article compiled with the help of dispatches