US to Temporarily Lift Travel Ban to 8 African Countries on December 31

US President Joe Biden issued a proclamation that will lift an earlier travel ban to 8 African countries, citing that travel restrictions are no longer necessary to protect the public health. From December 31st 12:01 am Eastern Time, foreign nationals who had been in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, and Botswana 14 days prior to entering the US will now need to be fully vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 a day before leaving for the US. This is a respite from the previous proclamation which barred foreign nationals that had been through the 8 countries from entering the US.

Biden’s change of stance comes after recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that people vaccinated against COVID-19 are adequately protected against severe effects of the Omnicron variant. Further, the rate of infection in the United States, and its position towards other countries with infection rates higher than southern African countries does not justify further travel restrictions towards the 8 countries.

Earlier, Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci said it was likely that the US will lift travel restrictions “…because we have enough infection in our own country… We’re letting in people from other countries that have as much or more infection than the southern African countries.”

White House officials says the restrictions imposed on November 29 gave the US tome to understand and analyze the variant, as well as reduce the number of cases coming in the US in the early days.

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