U.S. will lift the travel ban on southern African nations next week
The U.S. will lift travel restrictions to eight southern African countries on New Year’s Eve, the White House announced Friday.
The Nov. 29 ban barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who had recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said on Twitter that the decision was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Munoz said the temporary travel bans bought scientists necessary time to study the new virus variant and conclude that the current vaccinations are effective in blunting its impact.
Omicron is now spreading rapidly throughout the U.S., including among the vaccinated, but a huge majority of those being hospitalized are unvaccinated.
“The restrictions gave us time to understand Omicron and we know our existing vaccines work against Omicron, [especially] boosted,” Munoz wrote on Twitter.
Never miss a story: Follow your favorite topics and authors to get a personalized email with the journalism that matters most to you.