With omicron in 57 countries, White House says South African travel ban not racist

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Harare Zimbabwe File Photo 139419101 © Angela Perryman | Dreamstime.com

WASHINGTON, DC – The Biden administration has placed a travel ban on multiple predominantly black South African nations despite the variant being found in at least 57 other countries in the world, including the United States. Now, some are speculating that the Biden travel ban directed at those predominantly black African nations might be driven by phobia of the virus from those countries.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denied the allegation.

The Omicron variant is now in 57 countries.  The WHO issued a statement today and said that Africa has 46 percent of the nearly 1,000 cases globally.  But 70 — almost 70 countries in the world have imposed travel bans only on black African nations. 

The U.S. is among the countries that have imposed sanctions on only eight African nations.

“Why don’t you just lift it or impose sanctions on all the countries that have it?  What would you say to those who believe that this is a racist ban that targets only African and Black African nations?” a reporter asked Psaki.

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“I would convey to you that is absolutely not the intention.  That is not our policy.  This was a recommendation of the health and medical experts because there were a large number of cases in South Africa.  And they made a decision early on, out of an abundance of caution and to protect the American people, to slow the spread of the variant,” Psaki said. “This is not meant to be permanent.  It’s not meant to be a punishment.  And we are evaluating every single day decisions on whether to — when to lift these restrictions.”