It is sad that the Global North is racialising variants even in such a time of Advent. It is however laughable to see what the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres called “Travel Apartheid” against a borderless virus.[1] Tedros Adhanom, Head of World Health Organisation aptly explained that the blanket bans are “not evidence-based or effective on their own.” The blanket bans that condemned nations with vulnerable economy to a lockout are not evidence or scientific based, they are racial-based and shaped. According to Guterres, ‘ban that isolate any one country or region are not only deeply unfair and punitive, they are ineffective.’ The philosophy which hold one race superior and other inferior is counter productive and lack of international morality and respect. The apartheid that the Global North are propagating ‘has led to dangerous levels of racialisation and stigmatisation.’ BBC World ‘referred to Omicron as the “Southern African variant” in live broadcasts, the German newspaper Die Rheinpfalz introduced the variant as Das Virus Aus Afrika ist bei uns (The virus from Africa is with us) and the Spanish publication, Tribuna Albaceta,on 28 November published a cartoon of a “South African” boat named Omicron  filled with black Africans depicted as viruses, approaching the European shore.’[2]

Why is it only Africa that is facing the burden of Omicron variant when wealthy nations such as the United State of America, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Norway and numerous others, where Omicron has since been identified (in some cases with no links to Africa) didn’t implement travel restrictions against each other? Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned of a “potential tsunami of infections” in the face of the fast-spreading strain. Nigerians, for example are known for travelling home during festive periods? Are there any undisclosed undertones in this ‘Travel Apartheid’ especially during this festive celebration when the current trends of the spread of Omicron variant in the Global North is alarming? Madeleine Bunting book, Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture is Ruling our Lives reminds us on the hard taskmaster’s nature of the Government in meeting the needs of market capitalism. The Willing Slaves in relation to the overwork culture of ruling and controlling the lives of others suggests the ‘Travel Apartheid’ as a means of manipulation and control of others for self interest?

Robert Williams in his book, Racism Learned at an Early Age Through Racial Scripting reveals the origin of racism and how it is acquired and transmitted globally through racial scripts, profiles, and inequality. The danger is that, a learned racial script as, ‘a series of programmed stereotypes and myths about a racial or ethnic group other than one’s own … is activated upon the appearance of race-specific stimuli in the environment.’ Prejudice against Africa, especially against Nigeria and South Africa are not new but are even more historical. Omicron or Covid-19 did not start in Africa. Tulio de Oliveira, the scientist who led the team of South African scientists that identified the new Omicron Covid-19 variant in South Africa remains a global hero for alerting the world. Rather than celebrating De Oliveira and his team, the ‘means of importing the chemicals, which he needed to help his country keep track of the Omicron variant, has been blocked by the nations who stock them. The plane that delivered De Oliveria’s essential products became rare ‘out of fear that they would bring a new variant into their countries that was to all likelihood already there.’[3]

Systemic racism by Global North towards black people remains an incurable global variant dangerous than Omicron variant that has ‘already existed in other parts of the world including Europe as we know.’ Omicron variant has been in existence in the Global North without anyone reporting it neither announcing any travel ban. It is however “deeply concerning” according to Tedros, ‘that southern African countries that first raised the alarm about the new variant are being “penalized by others for doing the right thing” — detecting, sequencing and reporting the variant rapidly.’ Indeed, we are in a post-truth era. Mike Ryan, the World Health Organisation’s emergencies director explained that it was impossible to put “a hermetic seal” on countries by means of travel bans. “There is also some inherent internal contradictions in these bans —we’ve seen these before, where you ban flights, except for your own citizens,” he said. “I mean, epidemiologically, I find it hard to understand the principle there. Is it that some passport holders will have the virus, and some won’t? Does the virus read your passport? Does the virus know your nationality or where you are legally resident?” The Global North continue racial scripting and profiling of the Global South through ‘Travel Apartheid’ and unequal access to vaccines according to Professor Tom Moultrie “perpetuate systems of power, extraction, neo-colonialism and marginalisation between the North and South.”

The Good New of Advent to all is in the coming of the Omnipotent, Omniscience and Omnipresent God through Jesus Christ, the final answer to the world challenges, including Omicron. The Coming of Jesus Christ calls the world to repentance thereby breaking the yoke of racial scripting, profiling, and inequality. Jesus brings peace with others. The Good News of Advent is able to break the power balances and discrimination that the mirrors of Omicron and of Covid-19 has exposed. The discrimination ‘have been there for centuries, in the form of colonisation and the consequences thereof that have divided the world so cruelly into haves and have-nots.’ The call by the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby for the scrapping of the ‘travel apartheid’ Covid red list offers windows of opportunities for hope, peace, joy and love that the world desperately need. Jesus – the Prince of Peace – brings us Peace in our global relationships, to intervene, to reconcile and to restore us beyond the world hopelessness and challenges, including Omicron. 

[1] ‘Travel apartheid’: U.N. Chief slams global response to omicron variant,

[2] Malan, Mia, ‘Debunked: The Cruel and racist logic of Omicron Travel bans’ in Mail Guardian,