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Omicron: Biden Revokes Travel Ban on 8 Southern African Countries

President Joe Biden signs the American Rescue Plan, a coronavirus relief package, in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, March 11, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

US President Joe Biden revoked an existing proclamation Tuesday that banned travel last month from eight African countries because of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

“Having learned more about the Omicron variant in the past several weeks, the CDC now recommends lifting the travel restrictions,”Biden said in a new proclamation.

He added: “The travel restrictions imposed by that proclamation are no longer necessary to protect the public health.”

Accordingly, the restrictions on Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will end Dec. 31.

Biden made the decision based on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On Nov. 26, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that omicron constitutes a variant of concern.

The US identified its first case of the variant in the state of California earlier this month and now it has spread to 50 states.

The new variant accounted for 59% of new cases in the US for the week ending Dec. 25, according to data from the CDC.

International air travelers to the US from all countries, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, are required to take a COVID-19 test within one day of departure and show a negative result before they board a flight to the US.

The US currently has nearly 53 million cases and around 820,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to data from Maryland-based Johns Hopkins University.

Featured Image Credit: U.S. President Joe Biden | AP Photo/Andrew Harnik



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