Biden administration restricts travel from southern Africa to COVID variant



The Biden administration is restricting travel from eight countries in southern Africa over concerns about a new COVID-19 variant circulating in the region, according to senior government officials. Restrictions on travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi began Monday.

The restrictions do not apply to US citizens or lawful permanent residents, although such individuals are still required to test negative prior to travel.

“I’ve decided that we’re going to be cautious,” the president told reporters Friday. “…We don’t know much about the variation except that it is a huge concern, seemingly spreading rapidly.”

As CBS News reporter Debora Patta reported, there are serious concern among professionals that the new strain of bacteria, discovered for the first time in South Africa, could stop the fight against the pandemic. South African officials say the variant with more mutations than previously discovered strains has emerged around the world, marking a “major step in the evolution” of the virus since the revolution. The global health crisis began two years ago. There is concern that it may be more resistant to current vaccine formulations.

Senior administration officials said they are in close contact with public health officials in the region to understand more about the variant that the World Health Organization has identified as “variant of concern. Other countries, including the UK, have restricted travel in the region.

Variants are found in a part of the world where access to vaccines is low. Senior administration officials note that the Biden administration has sent 13.3 million doses of the vaccine to restricted states alone, but that’s a fraction of what’s needed, especially when Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. Biden administration restricts travel from southern Africa to COVID variant

Aila Slisco

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