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Airlines Suspend Flights To Zimbabwe ,Two Other Countries as COVID-19 Variant Rises

(African Examiner) – Two leading airlines Emirates and Rwanda Air have suspended flights to Zimbabwe, South Africa and Zambia citing high incidence of the highly infections Covid-19 variant among other reasons.

Emirates said it was suspending for two weeks, its Harare/Lusaka route because of operational challenges but did not suspend the one directly into Lusaka.

Based in United Arab Emirates, Emirates said suspension will be for two weeks between February 13 and February 28.

In statement, RwandAir said it had cancelled flights to the three countries with effect from last Monday.

“In view of the global concerns on Covid-19 variants prevalent throughout Southern Africa,

RwandAir announces the suspension of its flights to Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lusaka and Harare effective February 8. Scheduled flights will resume as soon as there is more clarity on the situation. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused,” read the statement.

The airliner which is one of the few leading in Africa, said affected clients can rebook and fly at a later date without additional cost or can request a refund.

The highly contagious 501Y.V2 variant was first detected in South Africa late last year and is believed to have spread to several other countries, according to World Health Organisation weekly report.

Zimbabwe is yet to roll out Covid-19 vaccines after getting a promise for 200 000 Sinopharm doses from China while Zambia is still holding on to millions of doses it received from African Union saying it wanted to wait for other country’s country’s roll-out plans.

South Africa on the other hand put on hold the AtsraZeneca vaccine because it proved to be ineffective against the covid-19 variant.

The suspension of the flights is a blow to prospects of revival of tourism in the region.


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