Biden enacts South Africa travel ban due to news of new coronavirus variant

President Joe Biden made the unexpected move of implementing a travel ban on the nation of South Africa as news about a new coronavirus variant sweeps the nation. 

Fox News reported that the White House issued the ban after advice from top officials advised that the United States didn’t have sufficient information to stop travel to and from the country.

Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told CNN on Friday morning that the new variant of COVID-19 spreading through Africa has been named Omnicron by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The variation on the last two year’s theme of COVID-19 has repeatedly been raising a “red flag that this might be an issue we don’t know.”

According to Fauci, American labs will need to do extensive testing to ascertain exactly what they can tell the public about the variant.

When he was questioned about the travel ban his answer was telling:

“Obviously as soon as we find out more information we’ll make a decision as quickly as we possibly can,” Fauci said. “You always put these things on the table, but you don’t want to say you’re going to do it until you have some scientific reason to do it.

“That’s the reason why we’re rushing now to get that scientific data to try and make an informed decision about something like that.”He went on to say that “you want to find out if in fact [the variant] does evade the vaccines.”

It’s currently clear what prompted the administration’s decision to stop travel to and from South Africa, given the amount of information being offered to the public.

In his statement, Biden said that he made the decision after meeting with Fauci and speaking about the new potential threat:

“This morning I was briefed by my chief medical advisor, Dr. Tony Fauci, and the members of our COVID response team, about the Omicron variant, which is spreading through Southern Africa,” he said. “As a precautionary measure, until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries.”

The White House did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment, however the publication reported that the travel ban does not apply to American citizens and lawful permanent residents, only to international travelers. However, all international travelers must test negative prior to travel.

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