Coronavirus Omicron variant
Coronavirus Omicron variant iStock

Nigeria slammed Western countries which have imposed new travel restrictions on African countries in the wake of the discovery of the Omicron variant, dubbing the new measures “travel apartheid”.

Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, Sarafa Tunji Isola, spoke with the BBC Monday about new restrictions imposed by Western countries on travel to and from Africa in light of the Omicron variant, lambasting the moves as “travel apartheid”.

"The reaction in Nigeria is that of travel apartheid,” said Isola, noting that the Omicron variant thus far appears to result in more mild symptoms than other variants.

Omicron, Isola continued, “is classified as a mild variant. No hospitalization, no deaths. So the issue is quite different from the Delta variant.”

Isola cited United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ criticism of such travel restrictions, and echoed his use of the term “travel apartheid”.

Last week, Guterres called on governments to use testing of travelers rather than restrictions on travel to curb the spread of COVID.

"We have the instruments to have safe travel. Let's use those instruments to avoid this kind of, allow me to say, travel apartheid, which I think is unacceptable.”