The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and State Department issued travel warnings to eight southern African nations on Saturday, after the White House’s announcement of additional travel bans in response to a new COVID-19 strain, Reuters reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention upped its travel restrictions for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Botswana to “Level Four: Very High,” while the Department Of state announced identical “Do Not Travel” cautions on Saturday. The CDC reduced its COVID-19 travel recommendation for South Africa from “Level 3: High” to “Level 1: Low” on Monday.
Only Botswana was previously classified as a “Level 4” country among the eight.
Omicron termed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, is likely more infectious than earlier strains, however, doctors are unsure if it will cause more or less severe COVID-19 than other strains. Scientists may need weeks to properly comprehend the changes in the variation and determine whether existing vaccinations and therapies are effective against it.
The revelation of the novel variety has triggered worldwide anxiety, prompting a flurry of travel restrictions and bans, as well as a sell-off on financial markets on Friday, as investors fear that Omicron might stymie the global recovery from the almost two-year epidemic.
The new variation caused the White House to warn on Friday that, beginning Monday at 12:01 a.m. ET, almost all foreign citizens who have spent the last 14 days in any of eight countries will be barred from traveling to the United States (0500 GMT). Flights departing before that time will be permitted to land in the United States. Foreign citizens, on the other hand, must be immunized and confirmed negative within three days.
If the strain spreads, a US official said in a statement for Reuters on Friday that the Biden administration might add more nations to the travel ban list. On November 8, the United States eased travel bans on South Africa and 32 additional nations.