U.S. Set To Restrict Travel From 8 Countries In South Africa Over Concerns About New COVID Variant
The United States is planning to put restrictions in place for travelers coming from eight countries located in South Africa due to concerns about a new strain of the coronavirus that was found there, according to President Joe Biden on Friday.
The policy does not ban any flights or apply to U.S. citizens and lawful U.S. permanent residents, an official from the Biden administration revealed.
The restrictions in question are due to go into effect on Monday and will apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malwai.
“As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries,” the president went on to say in a statement. “These new restrictions will take effect on November 29. As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises.”
The administration official said the restrictions are being “implemented out of an abundance of caution in light of a new COVID-19 variant circulating in Southern Africa.”
The United States only lifted travel restrictions on South Africa on Nov. 8.
A second administration official said the restrictions are expected to take effect at 12:01 a.m. EST Monday and came after a high-level administration meeting Friday afternoon to discuss the issue. The United States could add countries to the restriction list if the variant spreads, the official said.
The Biden administration plans to hold a briefing with U.S. airlines to discuss the restrictions later on Friday.
Back in January, the president placed a ban on most non-U.S. citizens coming into the country who had recently visited South Africa as a means to help contain the spread of the new variant of the coronavirus.