The Biden administration has stated that it will ban travel to and from South Africa, where it appears the newly-dubbed "omicron" has its origins. The ban will go into effect on Monday.
Biden had previously criticized Donald Trump for implementing a travel ban in the early days of COVID, and had accused Trump of “hysterical xenophobia” for other travel bans.
"At this point, implementing travel measures is being cautioned against," stated Christian Lindmeier on Friday while speaking to the UN.
Despite this recommendation, and despite the fact that cases of this new variant have already been positively identified all over Europe and Asia, many governments worldwide apart from the US are also already going ahead with pre-emptive travel restrictions.
Among these countries are the UK, Japan, Singapore, Israel and many other European nations. These countries have instituted travel bans affecting countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.
According to NBC News, the WHO's Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution will be the group meeting to discuss recommendations and strategies after having named the new Omicron variant as a variant of concern.
Maria Van Kerkhove, the Advisory Group's technical lead, stated on Thursday, "We don't know very much about this yet, what we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. The concern is that when you have so many mutations it can have an impact on how the virus behaves."
The delta variant is still the dominant variant of the COVID virus in most of the rest of the world, as of the time of this writing.
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