The inclusion of several African countries on the UK's travel ban list came as a surprise, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told CNN Thursday.
“The United Kingdom has the right to do what they have to do, but we have to understand that if we do not use a coordinated and measured approach it will be extremely difficult to come out of this pandemic,” Dr. John Nkengasong said.
The UK Department for Transport list includes more than a dozen African countries where the South African variant of coronavirus are believed to be spreading, while some notable countries are excluded.
The United States, France, and Israel are not on the banned the list, although the South African or Brazilian variants of coronavirus have been detected there. Portugal is the only European country on the UK's list and was included because of its strong travel links to Brazil, British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said earlier this month.
Yet the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and World Health Organization have warned about variants reported in other European countries.
“From a public health standpoint, what we should be doing is requiring that people travel with a negative Covid-19 test. It’s not about the variant, it’s about whether you are infected or not infected," Nkengasong said.
"If an African is traveling to the UK and shows a negative Covid test, that person doesn’t cause a risk to you. So the geographic origin of an individual doesn’t really matter, what matters is, are you coming in with a valid negative Covid test?”