United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says he is "deeply concerned" by travel bans on southern Africa.
In a statement shared by his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, he added that the lack of vaccines in those countries was a factor in the emergence of the new variant.
"The people of Africa cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available in Africa – and they should not be penalised for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world," the UN chief said.
Mr Dujarric further explained in a press briefing that the UN chief viewed the "blanket barring of certain citizens" as a "form of collective punishment".
The UN chief has appealed to governments to consider scientific-based solutions such as increased testing and quarantine, if need be.