U.S. Covid travel restrictions in a stasis — for now

Background: As of Monday, the Biden administration banned journey from South Africa, which first reported the brand new variant, in addition to from close by Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique. But there have been indications that the variant may have originated in Europe, elevating questions on whether or not the U.S. may once more shut down flights from Europe, mere weeks after that they had been lifted.

Even because the world tries to grapple with the brand new risk, Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, mentioned the U.S.’ mitigation measures for journey provide sturdy protections along with the usual suggestions and practices — carrying masks, getting vaccinated and different instruments — for the American public.

Walensky on Tuesday touted pre-departure journey actions, comparable to testing earlier than boarding a flight. Coupled with “international travel policies that have helped to keep Americans safe as well as our genomic surveillance system,” these measures will help in detecting Omicron “should and when it occur” stateside, she mentioned.

Separately, White House press secretary Jen Psaki advised reporters that the identical applies to the Canadian border, which reopened to completely vaccinated overseas vacationers earlier this month.

“The president’s decisions related to travel restrictions will be based on the recommendations of his health and medical team, they have not advised [closing the border] to this point,” she mentioned. “But we will continue to assess what steps we need to take.”

Advice from the WHO: Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, which designated Omicron a “variant of concern” on Nov. 26, really helpful overseas vacationers age 60 and above keep house in the event that they’re unvaccinated or are at elevated threat due to different well being circumstances.

“Persons who have not been fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and are at increased risk of developing severe disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities that present increased risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes) should be advised to postpone travel to areas with community transmission,” the group mentioned.

Julian Sorapuru contributed to this report.

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