Antony Blinken discusses Omicron COVID-19 variant, vaccines for Africans, with South African foreign minister Naledi Pandor

"Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Pandor emphasized the importance of continued partnership among the United States, the African Union, South Africa, and the other impacted nations in Africa to help vaccinate populations and combat the impacts of COVID-19," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.  "The Secretary expressed appreciation for the longstanding public health cooperation between the United States and South Africa.  Secretary Blinken specifically praised South Africa’s scientists for the quick identification of the Omicron variant and South Africa’s government for its transparency in sharing this information, which should serve as a model for the world."

The United States Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Saturday spoke with South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor and both leaders discussed the Omicron COVID-19 variant and the need to get more vaccines for more Africans.

“Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Pandor emphasized the importance of continued partnership among the United States, the African Union, South Africa, and the other impacted nations in Africa to help vaccinate populations and combat the impacts of COVID-19,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.  “The Secretary expressed appreciation for the longstanding public health cooperation between the United States and South Africa.  Secretary Blinken specifically praised South Africa’s scientists for the quick identification of the Omicron variant and South Africa’s government for its transparency in sharing this information, which should serve as a model for the world.”

Omicron was first detected in Botswana on November 11 and was reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa on November 24 after it began spreading rapidly in Gauteng province, a predominantly urban area containing the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and may be present in other provinces.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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