U.S. bans travel from South Africa due to COVID-19 variant

Omicron Variant
Omicron variant (World Health Org.)

WASHINGTON  – Beginning Monday, the United States will ban travel from South Africa and 7 other African nations by non-US citizens following the discovery of a COVID-19 variant.

Officials have named the variant “omicron.” A World Health Organization panel has classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern.

The variant’s discovery in southern Africa sent a chill through much of the world as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency meetings.

The overall risks of omicron are not yet known. But the United States, the 27-nation European Union and some other countries quickly announced restrictions on travel from southern Africa and stepped up other precautions.


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