By-The United States of America will on 31 December lift restrictions on travellers from Southern African nations, imposed last month in a bid to slow down the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
White House’s assistant press secretary, Kevin Munoz, said that the restrictions will be lifted in line with a recommendation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Munoz tweeted on Friday:
On Dec. 31, [President Joe Biden] will lift the temporary travel restrictions on Southern Africa countries. This decision was recommended by [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].
The restrictions gave us time to understand Omicron and we know our existing vaccines work against Omicron, [especially] boosted.
The US ban applied to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
Al Jazeera quoted a senior White House official as saying with Omicron present across the US and globally, international travellers from the eight affected countries would not have a significant effect on US cases. Said the official:
During the travel pause, President Biden reduced the time for pre-departure testing to one day as opposed to three days … travellers from these eight countries will be subject to these same strict protocols.