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Washington — The US will lift restrictions on Southern African countries on December 31 now that officials better understand the threat of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, the White House said on Friday.
With Omicron widespread in the US and worldwide, travellers from those nations won’t have a significant impact on the American case count, according to a senior Biden administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The government imposed restrictions on people traveling from SA and seven other nearby nations on November 29 because of the discovery of the Omicron variant. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified airlines they must provide the names of passengers who had travelled in Southern Africa in recent days so local health agencies could conduct contact tracing.
The restrictions didn’t stop Omicron from entering the US and becoming the dominant strain of infection. The CDS said on Monday that Omicron now accounts for more than 70% of new cases in the US.
President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday he was considering lifting the restrictions after his health advisers had suggested he reconsider.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.