BRUSSELS — The European Union ended travel restrictions on flights from southern Africa on Monday (January 10) well over a month after imposing them to in hopes of containing the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The highly contagious variant was first discovered in southern Africa in late November and the 27-nation bloc restricted travel for visitors from that region, where the variant brought on a sudden surge of infections.
Omicron has since become the dominant variant and is responsible in the EU and many other nations for an unprecedented increase in infections. That made the travel ban from southern Africa a moot point.
The French EU presidency announced Monday that the 27 member states agreed “to lift the emergency break to allow air travel to resume with southern African countries.”
It insisted that travellers from South Africa and neighbouring countries will still be subject to the other health measures on vaccinations and recovery from the disease that other third-nation visitors also face.