African travel ban, even for Italians: "With omicron left to ourselves" - Africa Express: news from the forgotten continent

African travel ban, even for Italians: “With omicron left to ourselves” – Africa Express: news from the forgotten continent

Travel ban Italia

Special for Africa ExPress
Maria Silva
January 5, 2022

There is still to wait for Italians residing in Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Namibia. They cannot return to Italy until January 31st. All the blame for the omicron variant?

In the aftermath of the announcement by South African scientists of the sequencing of the omicron variant, the world closed the doors to Africa, but it was like stopping the wind with your hands: omicron was already everywhere. The travel ban was useless and “unacceptable”, but Italy still does not believe it.

Travel ban Italia

Omicron is scary because it is highly contagious, but the data shows it is the least lethal of all variants of this cursed pandemic. The measured words, based on data and clinical evidence, of South African scientists did nothing. Not even the heartfelt ones of the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, who defined the travel ban “Unacceptable apartheid”.

The variant was already everywhere that November 26th when the World Health Organization designated it as “worrying”. Because, of course, viruses travel without documents or passports.

Italy maintains the travel ban unchanged at least until January 31stunlike all the other countries that have revoked it, the United States in the lead.

The Italians residing in those six African countries are embittered. They wrote letters to Minister Roberto Speranza, signed appeals #notravelban #noafrophobia #nocittadinitalianiserieB, called to solidarity, asked for help. Silence. To date, there is no response from the Italian authorities.

In addition to apartheid, there are those, like Simone Santipresident of the Mozambique-Italy Chamber of Commerce, defines the travel ban as a product of Afrophobia.

“The virus is fought togetherand, as we are repeating in all international fora, Africa must be helped together and not isolated – comments Santi – on Covid-19 Africa is “condemned” three times: for reduced access to vaccines, non-response on patents to produce them (South African application) and for the restrictive measures that with the omicron have isolated it from the rest of the world ”.

“Communication in Italy seemedonce again, focused on the solution of internal problems (7 million unvaccinated) and disrespectful of the countries put into black list, and if Aphrophobia were useful for health purposes in Italy, it certainly creates cultural damage and in friendships that can last for years – they write in the letter addressed to Minister Speranza. – We consider ourselves the link between Italy and the countries in which, for a short or longer period, we live. We ask for a more precise communication based on scientific data and on the opinion also of Italian institutions, associations and civil society present abroad and present in Italy [che ci sono sembrati]… those excluded from the decision-making process. “

“The travel ban regarding the countries of the southern area of ​​Africa – we read in the letter delivered by Santi, as president of Eurocam also to Ursula von der Leyen, through the EU ambassador in Mozambique, Antonio Sanchez-Benedito Gaspar – it is causing both economic and social effects that are not correctly reported in Italy : damage to the image, to the economy, primarily tourism, but also the feeling of “abandonment” and “betrayal” on the part of the northern hemisphere, which to us, who live here, is revealed with amazement and indignation ” .

Delta variant coronavirus

“After the emotionality of the moment, of the panic created by the omicron variant, there is all the scientific evidence for which this measure now appears even anti-historical – comments Santi. – We represent a few hundred citizens, all vaccinated, registered in the Registry of Italians residing abroad (AIRE), who cannot return to Italy, and who we doubt can be considered a threat to the stability of the national health system. We are registered with AIRE because we respect the rules of our country, Italy. That’s why dividing between resident and non-resident Italian citizens is truly a discriminatory measure. “

“With Omicron around the world, an Italian AIRE in Great Britain or the United States or Germany can return to Italy – Santi denounces. – We, Italians AIRE in Africa, cannot. Minister Speranza does not respond to our appeals. We are abandoned to ourselves and, even more seriously, we feel forgotten ”.

Maria Silva

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