After Conservative MP Raquel Dancho called for action against what she labeled the “African variant” Canada has banned travel from 10 African countries. But, there are more Omicron cases confirmed in England and other European nations with no travel restrictions placed on them.
The government also introduced a rule requiring Canadians wanting to return from the 10 listed African countries to take a COVID test in a third country.
At the same time as adopting the travel ban, Canada has failed to support a World Trade Organization patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines.
While protecting large pharmaceutical companies, Ottawa hoarded COVID vaccines, purchasing more than five times as many as required to inoculate all Canadians. Canada also dipped into the Covax vaccine-sharing initiative.
These measures have contributed to a stark inequity in which 7% of Africans are fully vaccinated. But, lower vaccination rates increase the ability of the virus to spread and mutate.
Canada should remove its travel ban on African countries. It should also actively support a WTO patent waiver for Covidvaccines.