US Puts Travel Ban on South African Countries Amid New COVID Variant

The Biden administration announced travel restrictions from eight African countries over the newly reported omicron variant of coronavirus. Meanwhile, the WHO labeled the new strain as “a variant of concern,” ringing alarm bells across the world.

Omicron variant will enter the US, even after travel ban

Despite the fact the US announced a travel ban, officials believe the new variant will enter the United States in the future, irrespective of any precautionary ban.

Dr. Fauci noted these travel bans will help the administration buy the time needed to study the virus further, which supposedly has more mutations than other COVID variants.

Included in the travel bans are eight countries: South Africa, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini.

American citizens and lawful permanent residents who want to come back to the United States will not be subjected to the travel ban; however, they will have to show a negative COVID-19 test before their arrival.

Aside from the US, several additional countries also announced travel bans, including the UK, Singapore, Switzerland, Dubai, Malta, and others.

The omicron variant has a number of mutations, which is worrisome for medical experts. According to reports, the existing natural or vaccination immunity will no longer be enough to stop the virus from immune system invasions.

Stock markets plunged globally after the discovery of the new COVID variant

Meanwhile, stock markets across the world tumbled on Friday, due to the rising concerns of the new strain. While the S & P 500 index dropped almost 106 points, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 1,000 points, recording the worst day of the current year.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, Biden said the information about the variant is sparse, except that it spreads rapidly. Contrary to Biden’s claim of the variant’s high transmission rate, health authorities are yet to find the virus is more contagious than other COVID strains.

Meanwhile, the arrival of the new variant also alerted pharmaceutical companies once again. Pfizer said the researchers are figuring out whether the existing vaccine can be used against the new strain.

They asserted if the existing vaccine is not effective against the omicron virus, they can manufacture a new vaccine in almost 100 days, subject to the government’s approval.

Johnson & Johnson and Moderna also indicated they are studying the efficacy of their vaccinations against the newly discovered COVID variant. These results are likely to come in a couple of weeks.

Even though the pharmaceutical companies have not yet concluded their study about the vaccine efficiency against the new variant, Biden pushed Americans to get their booster shots to avoid the new virus.

However, he denied enacting any new vaccine mandate for the time being. Only time will tell precisely how long this lasts.

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