US imposes travel ban from eight African countries

The United States will bar entry to most travellers from eight southern African countries starting on Monday, after a potentially more-contagious new coronavirus variant was identified in South Africa, President Joe Biden said on Friday.

Iran PressAmerica: The new variant, dubbed 'Omicron', poses a new challenge for US President Joe Biden. Biden faces criticism from international health experts and foreign leaders for failing to send vaccines to poorer countries.

The travel restrictions do not ban flights or apply to US citizens and lawful US permanent residents, Reuters reported.

Countries around the world rushed to suspend travel from southern Africa after the World Health Organisation said Omicron was "of concern". 

The restrictions apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a new coronavirus variant to be "of concern" and named it Omicron.

It had a large number of mutations, and early evidence suggested an increased reinfection risk, the WHO said.

It was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on 24 November, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.


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