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Two pandemics?

On the day that Europe banned flights to and from Maputo, Mozambique had registered 5 new cases of infection, zero hospitalizations and zero deaths from COVID 19.

José Eduardo Agualusa & Mio Couto

In other southern African countries, situation was similar. By contrast, most European countries were facing a dramatic wave of new infections.

South African scientists were able to detect and sequence a new variant of SARS Cov 2. At the same time, they disclosed their finding in a transparent manner. Instead of applause, the country was punished. Along with South Africa the neighboring countries were also penalized. Instead of offering to work together with Africans, European governments turned their backs and closed in on their own affairs.

Borders are not closed, people are closed. Economies, societies, paths to progress are closed. The penalty that we are now subject to will worsen the terrible impoverishment that the citizens of these countries are being subjected to due to the isolation imposed by the pandemic.

Once again, science was held hostage by politics. Once again, fear clouded reason. Once again, selfishness prevailed. The lack of solidarity was already present (and naturally accepted) in the shocking inequality in the distribution of vaccines. While Europe is discussing the fourth and fifth dose, the vast majority of Africans did not benefit from a single dose. African countries such as Botswana that paid for vaccines found, with amazement, that these vaccines were diverted to the richer nations.

Flights banned

The European continent that proclaims itself the cradle of science has forgotten the most basic scientific principles. With no proof of the geographical origin of this variant and no proof of its true gravity, European governments imposed immediate restrictions on the movement of people. Governments did the easiest and least effective: they built walls to create a false illusion of protection. It was predictable that new variants would appear inside and outside the walls erected by Europe. But there is no inside or outside. Viruses mutate without geographic distinction. There can be two feelings of justice. But there are no two pandemics.

African countries were once again discriminated against. The economic and social implications of these recent measures are easy to imagine. But Southern Africa is far, too far away. It is no longer just a matter of lack of solidarity. It is about acting against science and against humanity.

Mia Couto José Eduardo Agualusa Unauthorized translation: Paula Oksanen


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