Washington | The United States announced on Friday that it was closing borders for travelers from eight South African countries in response to the emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19.
A senior U.S. official has said that people from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Ishwati, Mozambique and Malawi will be banned from entering the United States from Monday.
He said only U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the United States will be allowed to enter the country.
The decision, especially in the wake of similar actions announced by European countries, led US President Joe Biden to reopen borders to travelers worldwide in early November, if they had been vaccinated against COVID after 20 months of sanctions.
- Listen to a column by Luke Laliberte, an expert on American politics
“In light of the new variant of COVID-19 spreading in South Africa, this measure was introduced under the name of precautionary principle,” the US official told reporters.
“Our scientists and public health officials are working quickly to find out more about this variant,” he added.
“President Biden has promised to take all necessary steps to ensure the health of Americans and to combat the epidemic, and this action has been recommended by medical experts from the US government and the COVID-19 team,” he said.
In his statement, Joe Biden called for a third dose of vaccine for Americans who have not yet been vaccinated and for adults who have already been vaccinated, saying “this is the best way to strengthen your defenses.”
He believed that the appearance of the Omicron variant should inspire other countries in the world to give more vaccines to poor countries.
“Information on this new variant shows that the epidemic will not end without vaccination worldwide. The United States has already given more vaccines to other countries than all other countries.