by Getty Images

The U.S. confirms it will begin restricting any travel from non-US citizens coming from South Africa starting Monday, as the emergence of a new COVID variant grows rapidly. 

President Biden's administration confirmed the decision Friday morning, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant throughout the United States. 

Also added to the travel ban list are Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. 

The White House administration did not reveal how long the travel ban will last for these countries. However, President Biden says it will move correspondingly based on the counseling of his science and medical teams. 

This comes nearly 3 weeks since the United States had finally lifted COVID travel restrictions for over 30 countries, South African included. 

The United States is the only country taking action on the matter, as Canada, the U.K. and the European Union have also placed a travel ban on travelers coming from South Africa. 

Experts in the health industry have expressed concern over this new variant, due to its unique profile that is distinguishing from all other COVID variants. 

In the same announcement Friday morning, President Joe Biden proceeded to encourage all Americans to receive their COVID booster shots, and also suggested that parents should have their kids receive the newly-approved vaccine doses for children between the age of 5 and 11. 

The World Health Organization says it will need a few more weeks to analyze the new variant, claiming there's more research to be made to better understand how transmittable it is. 

Health officials also say just under 100 sample sequences have been confirmed linked to the Omicron variant, with the majority being reported in South Africa, and a fraction also confirmed in Hong Kong, Bosnia, Botswana and Israel. 

With just under 25% of South Africa's population being vaccinated, health experts fear the Omicron variant can spread more rapidly than expected. 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *