AFRICA – The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has criticized a move by Canada to block international travelers who have not had a COVID-19 vaccine jab from entering its borders.
The agency’s head warned that the decision would widen inequalities, as most low-income countries continue to struggle to obtain the vital jabs.
“AfricaCDC warned that this scenario was imminent once some countries have vaccinated a substantial portion of their population. This decision by Canada will further exacerbate inequities and make it harder to win the global fight against COVID-19,” John Nkengasong, the Director of the Africa CDC, said.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that international travelers who have not taken the vaccines would not be allowed into the country
According to the World Health Organization, some 50 million doses had been administered in Africa by last week, accounting for just 1.6% of doses administered globally. Only about Sixteen million, or less than 2%, of Africans are fully vaccinated.
Canada’s decision will lock out majority of Africa’s population from entering the country.
Various leaders, led by the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom, have called for vaccine sharing to ensure a synchronized fight against COVID-19.
As of today, Africa has reported 5,976,296 COVID-19 infections with 152,289 deaths according to data published by the Africa Centers for Disease Control.
Kenyan passport holders restricted entry into over 50 countries
This comes at a time when holders of a Kenyan passport cannot access 54 countries in the wake of Covid-19 ban in the global race to protect nations against new variants of coronavirus, especially the Delta variant.
The Henley Passport Index, which has been regularly monitoring the world’s most travel-friendly passports since 2006, made the revelations that show how the pandemic has affected travel.
Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Cambodia, UK, Canada, Portugal, Denmark, Bulgaria and Singapore top the list of countries that have banned or placed restrictions on holders of Kenyan passports.
Others are Hong Kong, Bangladesh, Chile, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Cameroon, which the Henley & Partners lists as the only African country to place restrictions on Kenya.
The highly contagious Covid-19 Delta variant may spark a fourth wave of infections in Kenya over the next two months, according to the Health Ministry.
The rapidly transmissible strain, first identified in India, is dominant in western Kenya, where it was initially detected in the country.
About 1.53 million people have been inoculated in the country so far, of which 511,520 received their second doses.
The government expects to receive 13 million Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses from August and targets to inoculate more than 10 million people by end of December and the entire 26 million adult population by end of 2022.
Kenya has 188,942 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 3,723 deaths so far, with a positivity rate of 8.9 percent.