The US ban over Omicron’s fears applied to eight African countries, including South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
The United States will lift restrictions on travelers from southern African countries that were put in place last month amid concerns about the spread of the virus Omicron coronavirus variant, said a Biden government official.
In one tweet On Friday White House Assistant Secretary Kevin Munoz said the curbs Revoked December in accordance with a recommendation by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The restrictions gave us time to understand Omicron, and we know our existing vaccines against Omicron will work. [especially] reinforced, ”wrote Munoz.
The United States was among several countries that, according to researchers in South Africa, imposed travel restrictions on countries in southern Africa first identified Omicron on November 24th. The World Health Organization (WHO) then synchronized the trunk a “questionable variant” and warned it represents a “very high risk”.
On the 31st of December, @POTUS will lift the temporary travel restrictions for the countries of southern Africa. This decision was recommended by @CDCgov. The limitations gave us time to understand Omicron, and we know that our existing vaccines against Omicron work, especially reinforced. https://t.co/NdRTtntRuE
– Kevin Munoz (@ KMunoz46) December 24, 2021
But WHO and other global health experts criticized the travel bans with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying December that restrictions that isolated a country or region “were not only deeply unfair and punitive – they are ineffective”.
“With a truly borderless virus, travel restrictions that isolate a single country or region are not only deeply unfair and punitive – they are also ineffective,” Guterres said at a press conference at the time, calling instead for increased testing for travelers.
The US ban applies to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi.
A senior White House official added that international travelers from the eight affected countries with Omicron’s presence in the US and worldwide would not have a significant impact on US cases.
“During the travel break, President Biden cut the pre-departure test time to one day as opposed to three days … travelers from these eight countries are subject to the same strict protocols,” the official said.
The CDC said earlier this week that Omicron has become the dominant strain of coronavirus in the United States, accounting for 73 percent of new infections.
The surge in cases has led some major US cities to tighten restrictions and restore mandates on indoor masks while President Joe Biden promised on Tuesday provide additional resources to combat the spread of the virus.
Biden said his government will buy 500 million COVID-19 rapid tests at home and make them available for free starting in January, while the federal government will continue to set up federal testing centers if necessary.
He also promised more support for “COVID-contaminated” hospitals and urged Americans to get vaccinated.
“Leave your booster vaccination, wear a mask,” said the US President. “Our doctors have made it clear that booster vaccinations offer the strongest protection. Unfortunately, we still have tens of millions of people who are eligible for the booster who have not yet received one. “
But as Omicron continues to spread, the WHO becomes head warned this week that the rush in wealthy countries to introduce additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine exacerbated vaccine injustice – and prolonged the pandemic.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday that making vaccines available to vulnerable people around the world should be given priority rather than giving extra doses to those already vaccinated. “No country can accelerate its way out of the pandemic,” he told reporters.