US restricts travel from eight African countries via COVID-19 variant

The United States will limit travel from South Africa and seven other African countries on Monday, November 29, to control the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

The White House said in a statement to the press on Friday that the United States has restricted travel from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesoto, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

“President Biden has promised to take all necessary steps to keep Americans safe and defeat the pandemic, a step recommended by US government medical experts and the COVID-19 response team. It was, “said a statement to the White House press. The White House is not immediately responding to requests for comment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday dubbed a new strain, Omicron, and explained that it was significantly mutated. The United Nations health agency said the variant could re-infect individuals previously infected with COVID-19.

The European Union, Israel, the United Kingdom, Japan, and other countries announced on Friday that similar travel bans will be imposed on South African countries.

In a statement, WHO said the variants found in South Africa on Wednesday led to an increase in infections in South Africa.

“The epidemiological situation in South Africa is characterized by three different peaks of reported cases, the latest being predominantly delta mutants,” WHO said in a statement. “Infections have increased exponentially in recent weeks, consistent with the detection of the B.1.1.529 variant.”

The UN Health Agency has not stated whether the general COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the Omicron variant, but the statement suggests that individuals should still be injected. Some scientists have said that due to the number of mutations, the strain may be able to penetrate the vaccine.

India, Turkey, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates also reportedly tightened travel restrictions on Friday. Reuters.. However, WHO officials said the travel ban may be premature.

“It’s really important that there is no kneeling reaction here,” said Mike Ryan, WHO’s emergency director, on Friday.

Belgian officials said a variant of Omicron was found in the country. This is probably the first confirmed case in the European Union so far.

Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke said at a news conference that the mutation was found in individuals who had symptoms and tested positive on November 22nd.

“This is a suspicious variant. I don’t know if it’s a very dangerous variant,” he told reporters.

Concerns about the potential impact of variants, including government-mandated blockades, caused the stock market to skyrocket on Friday. Such concerns have caused airlines and other stocks, especially in the travel sector, and oil has fallen.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Jack phillips


Jack Phillips is the latest news reporter for The Epoch Times, based in New York.