In his address, President Ramaphosa was firm in his response to the travel bans by various countries following the detection of the Omicron coronavirus variant in this country.
He called on countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Mauritius and Rwanda to lift the bans, saying that they were not supported by any scientific evidence.
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Ikalafeng said there was no doubt that the recent developments with regard to Omicron may knock South Africa’s economy but not so much the brand.
“All other institutions have praised South Africa, so I don’t think there is a reputational issue impact on South Africa at all,” Ikalafeng said.
But he said that there were things the country could do to prevent any damage to brand South Africa.
“One, we need to make our case that though there will be cases because, unfortunately, the virus does travel, there will be cases in South Africa and maybe other countries. We certainly have the systems in place to manage the spread of it,” he said.
Ikalafeng said that the president’s address was also a demonstration of transparency and seriousness in addressing the new variant.
South Africa’s International Relations Department said that it was talking to representatives in countries that had set travel bans to get them lifted.
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