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US Bans Flights From 8 African Countries Over ‘Omicron’ Covid19 Variant


The United States (US) has announced the suspension of air travels from eight southern African countries due to the outbreak of the ‘Omicron’ Covid-19 variant. President Joe Biden announced the latest travel restrictions in a statement sighted by African Entertainment on his official Instagram handle on Friday, November 26, 2021.

According to the US President, “This morning I was briefed by my medical advisor, Dr Tony Fauci, and the members of our covid response team, about the Omicron variant, which is spreading through Southern Africa.”

He added that “As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries.”

Mr Biden noted that “These new restrictions will take effect on November 29, 2021.”

The eight countries are: South Africa, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.

US citizens and lawful permanent residents are to be exempt from the restrictions. However, they will still need to test negative before flying.

The World Health Organization designated the new highly mutated strain of Covid a “variant of concern”, giving it a Greek name Omicron.

The Omicron variant has been identified in South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.

One case of the Omicron variant has been confirmed in Belgium.

Earlier, the United Kingdom restricted travel from the eight African nations despite the WHO cautioning against travel bans.

Canada has also announced that it is closing its borders to all foreign travellers who have been to South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the past 14 days. Story by: Melvin Tarlue

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