Axios.com is reporting, “The U.S. will impose new travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, senior administration officials said Friday.
The big picture: Travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.
- The new policy does not apply to American citizens and permanent residents.
- The restrictions are being implemented “out an abundance of caution,” the administration officials said, adding that this step was recommended by U.S. government medical experts and the COVID-19 Response Team.
The Omicron variant, known formally as B.1.1.529, has already caused countries across Europe and Asia to implement travel restrictions.
- The variant was first reported to the World Health Organization on Nov. 24.
- “This variant has a large number of mutations,” the WHO said in a statement Friday, calling the new strain a “variant of concern.”
- Early evidence suggests “an increased risk of reinfection with this variant compared to other” variants of concern, it added.
- The Omicron variant likely evolved during a chronic infection of an immunocompromised person, possibly in an untreated HIV/AIDS patient, Francois Balloux, director of the UCL Genetics Institute, said in a statement.”
Many of us in the travel industry have been holding our collective breath regarding a resurgence of COVID. Cruise lines have resumed sailing from most ports of call, new cruise ships including the Carnival Mardi Gras has begun service, and travel has resumed.
The big question will be if the new Omicron “variant” will deter people from cruising!
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