The U.S government have announced that travel restrictions set against 8 southern African countries due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of covid-19 will be lifted.
Foreign nationals who are barred from the US because they have been in one of the eight countries within the prior 14 days will again be allowed on US-bound flights leaving after 12.01am US east coast time on 31 December, a senior official said.
The United States had on 29th November barred nearly all non-US citizens who had recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi in an “abundance of caution” over the variant detected in South Africa.
White House spokesman Kevin Munoz through his twitter account said that Biden “will lift the temporary travel restrictions on Southern Africa countries” effective 31 December and the decision was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The restrictions gave us time to understand Omicron and we know our existing vaccines work against Omicron, esp boosted,” Munoz tweeted.
US public health agencies had recommended lifting the travel restrictions because retaining them would have not a significant effect on Covid cases especially with the current community spread the US is experiencing and having confidence that an Omicron-specific vaccine would not be necessary and that existing vaccines and booster shots are highly effective.