New U.S. Travel Restrictions Tied to Omicron Variant

A new fast-spreading variant of COVID-19 caused the U.S. government to restrict travel from southern African countries today. “Omicron” is now officially a Variant of Concern (VOC) for the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition to the U.S., other nations are also taking action in hopes of rapidly containing the new variant.

The new variant of SARS-CoV-2 in South Africa first came to the attention of WHO on November 24, 2021. The first confirmed infection of the variant was from a specimen on November 9. Botswana, Hong Kong, Belgium, and Israel have also had cases of the variant. It became a Variant of Concern for WHO on November 26.

“…this variant has been detected at faster rates than previous surges in infection, suggesting that this variant may have a growth advantage.” WHO wrote in an earlier statement.

New travel prohibitions

The New York Times reports the U.S. will prohibit travelers

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