Obama visits the “House of Slaves” in Senegal
WASHINGTON – The U.S. government notified Friday that starting next Monday it will place restrictions on travelers from South Africa and seven other countries in southern Africa in the face of the emergence of a new variant of the coronavirus dubbed “omicron.”
“As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries,” President Joe Biden said in a statement sent by the White House.
The new restrictions will go into effect Nov. 29 and as information and knowledge of the omicron variant advances, Biden said, further decisions could be made based on what science and the medical team of advisors advise him.
President Biden made the decision after hearing suggestions from his chief medical advisor, Anthony Fauci, and officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
New Strain: The World Begins to Close Borders
Antony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State, began a tour of three countries on the African continent on Sunday, starting with South Africa. The official’s visit is seen as part of a competition between Russia and China against the United States and Western powers for market leadership in Africa and support for Ukraine following its invasion.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he arrives at Lanseria International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022. Blinken is on a 10-day trip to Cambodia, the Philippines, South Africa, Congo and Rwanda. AP – Andrew Harnik
Arrival of the U.S. Secretary of State
Foreign nationals who cannot enter the United States because they have been in one of the eight countries within the previous 14 days will again be able to travel on U.S.-bound flights departing after 12:01 a.m. ET on Dec. 31, a senior official said. confirming a Reuters report.
Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said Monday that the restrictions are likely to be lifted “because we have enough infection in our own country … We are allowing in people from other countries that have as much or more infection than southern Africa.”
Journey to the heart of the Sahel, where the desert is at its deadliest
Context: The World Health Organization (WHO) announced the official name of the new strain, omicron, in accordance with protocols. It labeled it a “variant of concern” in a Friday statement.
What do they say? Fauci, in an interview on CNN’s New Day, said the new variant has “some mutations” that “are raising some concern,” including “with respect to possible increased transmissibility and likely evasion of immune response.”