Lindiwe Sisulu, the South African Minister of Tourism, has called on Africans to take the COVID-19 vaccination seriously, contain the spread appropriately and ensure that tourism activities across Africa are completely reorganized.
Sisulu called on the sidelines of the Africa Travel and Tourism Summit 2021 in Lagos with the topic “Africa awakening again”.
She said the COVID-19 vaccination must be taken seriously in order to remove African countries from the red list of European countries.
According to her, the African Union has introduced pan-African biosurveillance technology called PanaBIOS, which can track the spread of the coronavirus and connect test centers across the continent.
“Although Africa as a whole is still considered a no-go zone, many of our nations are on the UK’s red list of countries to avoid traveling to.
“The UK itself has just over 7 million cases. Removing African countries from the Red List of European Countries is a challenge that we should accept and work hard to end.
“Reports have shown that tourism will recover faster in countries with a high percentage of vaccinated people than in countries with a low percentage.
“It is in the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic that new variants will inevitably develop as a natural evolution of the virus.
“Therefore, while vaccinations remain absolutely important, non-pharmaceutical interventions like maintaining social distancing, keeping masks and disinfecting remain an important international recreation of tourism.
“This will depend heavily on pandemic progression, travel restrictions and vaccine development,” she said.
Sisulu said recent statistics showed there had been just over eight million infections across the African continent, 33 million fewer than the United States, 25 million fewer than India and 13 million fewer than Brazil.
She found that nearly 76 million vaccinations were given across Africa.
According to her, South Africa alone has administered over 15 million vaccines and the country has seen a downward trend in infection rates.
“In East Africa, reports show that poor access to vaccines, slow adoption of vaccines and potentially high vaccination risk are holding back the region’s economic recovery.
“Despite these concerns, the African Union has taken great steps to ensure that the vaccines are administered safely.
“The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) consortium for COVID-19 is a knowledge center that brings together vaccine developers.
“It also brought together vaccine funders and African organizations running clinical trials to gather information about the virus and act on its results.
“So we have to take vaccinations seriously to ensure that the African economy is not further manipulated,” she said.
The minister said that it is very important that Africans unite as a continent to take action to revitalize the tourism industry as it is vital in building an inclusive recovery.
“As we explore new avenues of doing business and welcoming the peoples of the world, we must learn lessons from the experiences of the pandemic and ensure that our companies are more resilient and agile for future sustainability,” she said.
Avant-Garde News Nigeria