Biden announces travel ban for 8 predominantly black South African nations

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Cape Town, South Africa - 6 April 2020 : Empty streets and stay home sign in Cape Town during the Coronavirus lockdown

Travel to the United States from eight predominantly black nations will be restricted following a new strain of COVID-19 found in the African nations of The restrictions apply to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

In 2020, former President Trump announced a similar travel ban from China after the initial COVID-19 strain was found to have originated in the Wuhan province of that nation. The day Trump announced that ban, then candidate Joe Biden called the former president Xenophobic. Later, his campaign went on to say that Biden did not know about the Trump travel ban and the comment was not about his China travel ban.

“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. As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will take effect on November 29. As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises,” Biden said today. “For now, I have two important messages for the American people, and one for the world community.”

Biden said the new variant, dubbed Omicron, shows the need for a greater international vaccination strategy.

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“For the world community: the news about this new variant should make clearer than ever why this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations. The United States has already donated more vaccines to other countries than every other country combined. It is time for other countries to match America’s speed and generosity,” Biden said. ” In addition, I call on the nations gathering next week for the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting to meet the U.S. challenge to waive intellectual property protections for COVID vaccines, so these vaccines can be manufactured globally.  I endorsed this position in April; this news today reiterates the importance of moving on this quickly.”

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines both fly to South Africa and United is set to resume nonstop flights from Newark to Cape Town on Dec. 1. Shares of both airlines closed down more than 8% Friday, Reuters reported.