White House Will Lift Travel Bans Against 8 African Nations
In SummaryNearly one month after imposing travel restrictions against eight African nations, the White House will reverse course and lift the bans.
The White House announced its plans to lift travel bans imposed on eight countries in southern Africa.
The restrictions were put in place against Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe on Nov. 26, 2021, following the discovery of the omicron COVID-19 variant.
According to The Hill, White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz said President Joe Biden will lift the restrictions on Dec. 31.
The decision to end the restrictions came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the reversal, Reuters reported. “The restrictions gave us time to understand omicron and we know our existing vaccines work against omicron, esp boosted,” Munoz tweeted.
The omicron variant is now the most dominant COVID-19 strain in the United States, with cases in all 50 states. The delta variant was previously the most dominant strain of the virus, but the highly-transmissible omicron swept in and now accounts for 73% of the latest COVID-19 cases, CNBC reported.
Dutch health officials reported cases of the strain in mid-November, but South African scientists identified omicron and reported it to global health authorities, BNC previously reported.
Symptoms related to the omicron variant are different than other strains, according to Huffpost. They include congestion, a sore throat, body aches and fatigue.
Public health officials continue to advocate for vaccines as the best way to protect oneself against the virus and the various strains. According to The Hill, in Harris County, Texas, an unvaccinated man with underlying health conditions became the first U.S. death linked to the omicron variant.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine COVID-19 tracker, as of Dec. 24, 2021, the United States has had more than 51 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 815,000 COVID-related deaths.
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