US President Biden announced that the nation will restrict South Africa travel, and to 7 other countries from Monday, with a new strain of the COVID-19 virus detected in several African countries.
The President was acting on the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading expert on infectious diseases in the country. Along with the restriction on South Africa travel, the US administration will also put in place restrictions on travel to Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Mozambique, Eswatini, (formerly Swaziland), and Malawi.
The President signed the proclamation on Friday night regarding South Africa travels. He said that the restriction would apply to people present physically in the listed countries during 14 days preceding their attempt to enter the US.
The proclamation of immediate South Africa travel restrictions includes those who have been excused from the declared restrictions. The list includes US citizens, permanent lawful non-citizens who are spouses of US citizens, and residents.
Health and other administration officials said that the decision was taken displaying abundant caution as the World Health Organization has marked this new variant of the virus as one of concern. They have stated that health officials and scientists are at work to identify and isolate the strain.
White House Contacts Airlines On South Africa Travel
Senior federal administrative officials have earlier said that multiple steps are being taken even before the restrictions are in place starting Monday. This includes a formal proclamation by US authorities, directives by the Transportation Security Administration on South Africa travel, and coordinating with various airlines.
An official said that though they are faced with a short timeline, many issues are to be considered before any South Africa travel restrictions are in place.
Airline majors have expressed hope that the federal administration’s decisions are based on scientific facts. The South African health ministry has said that the variant discovered is spreading rapidly in the country.