The European Union has announced the lifting of suspension on flights to and from Southern Africa, a restriction that was put in place amid the outbreak of the omicron variant.
When the restriction was imposed last year, the African Union and United Nations strongly criticized it.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Nigerian counterpart asked the EU countries to reverse the travel ban.
Th French presidency of the EU however said on Monday that after a meeting of the bloc’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) team, member countries decided to end the ban.
🔴🇪🇺 Member States have agreed this morning at IPCR meeting to lift the emergency break to allow air travel to resume with southern African countries. (…) 1/2 ⤵️
— Présidence française du Conseil de l’UE 🇫🇷🇪🇺 (@Europe2022FR) January 10, 2022
It said there had been agreement among member states “to lift the emergency brake in place to allow air traffic with southern African countries to resume.”
“Travelers from this area will, however, remain subject to the health measures applicable to travelers from third countries,” it added.
The EU decided to end the restriction over the mutated omicron variant which was first detected in Southern Africa. This variant is now dominant in several EU countries.
Last month the United States government also announced the lifting of the travel restrictions on southern Africa countries effective 31st of December, 2021.
South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi are amongst the eight countries that were allowed to resume travels to the US from the start of the New Year.