The US Restricts Travel from Several African Countries Because of the Omicron Variant

The US Restricts Travel from Several African Countries After a New Covid Variant is Discovered

The United States has imposed travel restrictions on eight African countries starting on Monday, November 28, 2021, because of a new Covid variant.

The new variant is the Omicron variant. It was first discovered in South Africa and is said to be a potentially more transmissible variant. The World Health Organization has classified the Omicron variant as a “variant of concern”.

Along with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Japan, and more have all announced travel restrictions on the African countries. Those countries include:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Namibia
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Mozambique
  • Malawi

Cases of the Omicron variant have been confirmed outside of Africa in Belgium, Canada, Israel, Italy, Germany, and Hong Kong.

It is still unclear how the variant will affect vaccinated individuals. President Biden’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Fauci says that it will take about two weeks to figure out if the Omicron variant is resistant to the current Covid vaccines.

South Africa’s Response

South African’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa has publicly expressed disappointment in and criticized the countries that have imposed travel restrictions on South Africa. He claims that the travel restrictions are an “unjustified departure from the commitment that many of these countries made at that meeting of the G20 countries in Rome last month”

President Ramaphosa went on to state that the “restrictions are completely unjustified and unfairly discriminate against our country and our southern African sister countries. The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant. The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economics of the affected countries and undermine the ability to respond to and also to recover from the pandemic.”

It is still unclear how long the US travel restrictions will last, but we will keep you updated with the latest travel restriction news. Follow along with our blog for more.