U.S. Joins at Least 15 Other Nations Banning Travel From South Africa After Omicron Emerges

President Joe Biden said Friday his administration will impose travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other nations next week following the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant the World Health Organization has begun calling “Omicron.”

Administration officials told The New York Times the ban will apply to travelers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The U.S. joined more than a dozen other countries in announcing travel bans from the region this week as details about the new virus variant began to emerge. According to CNN, at least 15 other countries had similarly announced travel bans by midday Friday.

In a Friday statement, Biden said he had been briefed about Omicron by Dr. Anthony Fauci, his chief medical advisor, and other individuals with his administration’s virus response team earlier in the day.