Online-Diskussion: Omikron und der Umgang mit Südafrika Panel
13 December 2021, 15:00 - 16:30hrs, online
Online Discussion: Determined decision or jumping the gun?
The national, regional and global consequences of the world’s reaction to South Africa and Omicron

At the end of November, South African researchers discovered a new variant of the coronavirus: Omicron. Not much is known about the new mutant, but shortly after the announcement, numerous countries, including Germany, reacted with strict travel restrictions for South Africa, which were extended to other countries in southern Africa a short time later.


Not only did the countries concerned sharply criticize these measures; UN Secretary-General António Guterres, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mohamat also condemned them as unjustified and inadequate measures. Omicron has now been detected in a total of 24 countries and there is increasing evidence that the variant could even come from the Netherlands. Nevertheless, so the perception at the Cape, South Africa is being punished for its research work and transparent communication in dealing with the discovery of Omicron. The tourism sector, which is so important, is being hit hard by the measures – in the middle of the high season. The consequences for the already economically and politically troubled country are fatal. The rapid spread of Omicron in South Africa also indicates another problem in combating the current pandemic: the low vaccination rate in the country, which at 24% is well above the average on the African continent. The question of global vaccine equity is therefore given new meaning with Omicron.


How are the Omicron discovery and subsequent reactions perceived in South Africa? Why have countries like Germany reacted with travel restrictions and what do these mean for the South African economy and neighbouring countries? What is the current corona situation and vaccine distribution on site and in the region? And what consequences for fighting the corona pandemic result from how the world is dealing with South Africa?


These and other questions were at the center of the online discussion hosted by the Germa Africa Foundation and Dr Christoph Hoffmann MP.



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Dr Christoph Hoffmann MP, FDP parliamentary group and board member, German Africa Foundation



Dr Michelle J. Groome, Head of the Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, National Institute for Communicable Diseases

Laua Joyce, Counsellor Political, Embassy of the Republic of South Africa

Dr Sonja Kreibich, Head of Division Pan-African Issues Southern Africa Great Lakes, Federal Foreign Office

Dr Melanie Müller, Senior Associate, German Institute for International and Security Affairs


Closing Remarks:

Dr Christoph Hoffmann MP, FDP parliamentary group and board member, German Africa Foundation



Sabine Odhiambo, Deputy Secretary General, German Africa Foundation

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