OTTAWA -- South Africa’s high commissioner to Canada says South African officials have requested a meeting with Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly to discuss the federal government’s travel measures in response to the Omicron variant.

“Why are we being punished?” Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo asked on CTV’s Power Play Monday. “We just don’t understand what is happening.”

Omicron was named a variant of concern by the World Health Organization earlier this month. The variant was linked to South Africa after a sharp rise in cases in the region. The Canadian government implemented new travel restrictions that ban foreign nationals who were recently in countries in southern African in the last two weeks.

Dlamini-Mntambo told CTV’s Power Play the variant “has been picked up in quite a number of other countries” but “these countries have not been banned.”

There are currently at least five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in Canada.

Dlamini-Mntambo reacts to Canada’s travel measures in the video at the top this article.