By Enoch Fiifi Forson
ACCRA, Ghana (AA) - Ghana on Monday announced an immediate ban on travelers from Israel, South Korea, and Malta, in an apparent bid to halt the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration issued three statements, none of which explicitly provided a reason for the travel bans imposed on travelers from Israel and South Korea.
However, a ministry source told Anadolu Agency that it was part of a government effort to curb the new fast-spreading strain. Unvaccinated people are already prohibited from entering the country.
According to these statements, the travel bans on Israel and South Korea will last 14 days, while the travel restriction on Malta will stay indefinitely.
People traveling from Israel for humanitarian or official purposes will be permitted entry, though "permission" from the ministry will be required, according to one of the statements.
However, there is no exemption for passengers coming from South Korea.
"The Government of Ghana does not recognize any vaccine certificate issued by Malta," said another statement, citing the need for tighter rules.
Cases of omicron have been found in all three countries, prompting strong measures, including travel restrictions.
Ghana reported its first case of omicron on Dec. 1, responding with a massive immunization campaign as foreign data monitoring agencies estimate that just 5% of the country's population of over 30 million is completely vaccinated.