Biden administration restricts travel from southern Africa due to COVID variant – .

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The Biden administration is restricting travel from eight southern African countries over concerns over a new COVID-19 variant circulating in the region, according to senior administration officials. Restrictions on travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi begin Monday.
The restrictions do not apply to U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, although such people should always test negative before traveling.

“I have decided that we are going to be careful,” the president told reporters on Friday. “… We don’t know much about the variant except that it’s a big concern, which seems to be spreading quickly. “

As reported by CBS News correspondent Debora Patta, there is serious concern among experts that the new strain, first discovered in South Africa, could set back the fight against the pandemic. South African officials say the variant, which has more mutations than previously detected strains that have emerged around the world, marks a huge “evolutionary leap” for the virus since the global health crisis began a year ago. two years. It is feared that it is no longer resistant to current vaccine formulas.

Senior administration officials said they were in close contact with public health officials in the region to learn more about the variant, which the World Health Organization has identified as ” worrying variant. Other countries, including the UK, have already restricted travel from the region.

The variant was found in part of the world with poor access to vaccines. Senior administration officials noted that the Biden administration sent 13.3 million doses of the vaccine to restricted countries alone, but that’s a fraction of what’s needed, especially since Pfizer vaccines and Moderna require two doses.

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