USA and the UK
New variant, new travel ban
The latest strain of COVID-10, Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa has now spread to Canada, Europe, and parts of Asia prompting many governments to issue new health and safety protocols and travel restrictions from areas affected by the strain, primarily 8 nations in Africa.
The Omicron is believed to be a faster spreading strain of COVID-19 which causes grave concern for the United States population who have an estimated 30% of its population unvaccinated. Although there are no confirmed cases of the Omicron strain in the U.S., it is believed that it will inevitably reach the United States sometime soon.
This new travel ban comes after the U.S. recently opened up its borders to allow travel again after the country shuts its border due to the coronavirus pandemic.
What are the travel restrictions?
As of November 29th, 2021, the United States will deny entry into the country for all foreign nationals traveling on an immigrant or non-immigrant visa who have been to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, or Zimbabwe within the past 14 days. In addition, U.S. citizens and permanent residents have been given a travel warning against traveling to any one of those countries.
U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have traveled to those nations within the past 14 days will still be able to return home. Although there are travel restrictions put in place by the United States and many other countries worldwide, flights in Southern Africa still take off every day as flights are not banned, only travelers.
Although the U.S. is currently banning entry of foreign nationals who have traveled in that region within the past 2 weeks, the Biden administration may add additional countries to the travel ban list if the new variant spreads.
What are the chances that the ban will end soon?
Unfortunately, the United States has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic with an estimated 782,000 deaths since the pandemic started. Recently, the U.S. has seen a 9% increase in the recorded cases of new COVID-19 cases with an expected more to come as both colder weather and the holiday season forces more people indoors and to family gatherings.
Health experts worry that if the new strain enters the United States, there will be an increase in infections and deaths caused by the virus especially amongst the non-vaccinated. Currently, health experts are waiting for definitive information regarding the new strain’s threat and if the vaccines can provide effective protection against the virus’ severe symptoms. It is estimated that the WHO and health experts from around the world will have better information regarding this strain in 2 weeks to 1 month from now.
Last modified on May 25th, 2022 at 3:21 am
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