Deadlier Omicron Variant Prompted US to Declare Travel Restrictions from Certain African Countries

Nature

Following discovering a possibly more infectious novel coronavirus type in South Africa, President Joe Biden said on Friday that most visitors from eight southern African nations would be denied admission to the United States beginning on Monday.

Plane

(Photo : Getty Images)

The new strain, named Omicron, presents a fresh challenge for Biden, who has had mixed results in getting Americans vaccinated following a politically motivated backlash from ten states. International health professionals and foreign politicians have chastised Biden for neglecting to supply immunizations to impoverished countries.

Flights are not prohibited, and the limitations do not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Omicron

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no instances of Omicron have been found in the United States yet. If the B.1.1.529 variety appears in the nation, the agency intends to detect it immediately.

Related Article: New Covid Variant from South Africa Worries the UK

Travel Restrictions

Coronavirus - Covid-19 Vaccination Center At Merck

(Photo : Photo by Arne Dedert- Pool/Getty Images)

Following the Globe Health Organization’s announcement that Omicron was “of concern,” countries all over the world hastened to impose travel prohibitions, many of which took effect immediately, unlike those issued by Biden.

South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi are also limitations. Non-U.S. citizens make up the vast majority of the world’s population. Citizens who have spent the previous 14 days in such nations will not enter the United States.

“I am imposing additional aviation travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other nations as a precautionary measure until we get more information,” Biden said in a statement.

While on a stroll in Nantucket, the president informed reporters that his medical experts advised him to start the restriction on Monday rather than immediately. According to a White House official, the delay is due to the administrative requirements that must be met before such a ban can be implemented, including dealing with transportation agencies and airlines.

“As specifics remain unknown at this time, and there are many unanswered questions,” said Airlines for America, an industry trade group. “Amid this rapidly evolving situation, U.S. government decisions regarding international travel restrictions and requirements must be rooted in science,” it added.

Prevention

A senior administration official indicated that the U.S. might add more nations to the exclusion list if the variation spreads.

United Airlines (UAL.N) and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) travel to South Africa, with United resuming nonstop service from Newark to Cape Town on December 1. Both airlines’ stock prices dropped by more than 8% on Friday.

Covid Variants

7 Tips for Becoming an Eco-Conscious Business Traveler in 2021

(Photo : Image by Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay )

In the aftermath of the new version, Biden urged states convening at the World Trade Organization next week to waive intellectual property (I.P.) safeguards for COVID-19 vaccinations.

In a statement, Biden stated, “The news of this new variation should make clearer than ever why this pandemic will not stop unless we get worldwide immunizations.”

According to Reuters, the WTO conference was postponed due to worries over the variation, possibly making the already lengthy and unpredictable process of intellectual property exemptions even slower and more unclear.

Some public health experts believe the U.S. has not done enough to offer first-dose immunizations to people in other countries, especially while it pushes ahead with booster shots for its residents who have previously been vaccinated.

Also Read: Experts Warn of Another Deadly Global Outbreak to Strike Within 60 Years

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