President Joe Biden stated Friday that the United States would begin restricting travel from South Africa and seven other nations on Monday due to the emergence of a new coronavirus type.
The Biden administration would limit travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi, on the nation's foremost infectious diseases specialist's advice Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When the federal government decided to limit travel, it was still trying to learn more about the new variety given the moniker Omicron.
While they believe they need to see more sequencing, authorities decided to restrict travel from these other nations after considering what they had seen so far.
They were concerned about what they could discover.
According to the release, Biden was informed on Friday about the novel coronavirus type spreading in southern Africa.
"We don't know a lot about the variant except that it is a big concern and seems to spread rapidly, and I spent about a half-hour this morning with my Covid team led by Dr. Fauci, so that was the decision we made," the President said.
Even though the World Health Organization has recently designated this as a variation of concern, officials said that the policy was imposed out of an excess of caution.
According to a senior Biden administration official, before the limits take effect on Monday, numerous processes must be completed, including a formal United States proclamation, Transportation Security Administration directions, and cooperation with aircraft carriers.
Inside the government, it is widely accepted that the new variant will manifest itself in the United States at some point.
However, the new restrictions should provide federal health agencies and their international counterparts with additional time to learn about the variant, including the severity of the disease it causes, before it becomes widespread.
Officials believe that the variation does not exist in the United States at this time, based on current thinking.
"Right now, we're getting the material together with our South African colleagues to get a situation where you could actually directly test it. So, right now you're talking about sort of like a red flag that this might be an issue -- but we don't know," Fauci said.
"You want to find out if in fact it does evade the vaccines that we're doing," Fauci said when asked about potential travel restrictions. "You're prepared to do everything you need to do to protect the American public, but you want to make sure there's a basis for doing that."
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