National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has described the travel ban on South Africa and other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries as annoying and irritating.

She says this is despite the fact that South African scientists were the ones to detect the new Omicron variant.

Mapisa-Nqakula was addressing the 7th BRICS Parliamentary Forum at the 143rd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly (IPU) at Madrid in Spain on Saturday. She is leading the South African delegation at the IPU.

Discussion on threats posed by the Omicron variant on the tourism sector:

Mapisa-Nqakula says the ban will have an impact on SADC, which is the strongest and most influential region on the continent.

“What that basically means is that in the near future and other meetings which we may hold, of course, it means the African continent will be weakened because the SADC region will not be participating of course except for the virtual platform. I just thought I should say this because it is actually irritating. It is annoying because we are the ones who have come out and said there is this (Omicron variant) and now we find ourselves in a situation of isolation,” says Mapisa-Nqakula.

COVID-19 I Professor Bruce Mellado on the Omicron variant: