MONDAY, Dec. 27, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Starting Dec. 31, the United States will lift travel restrictions from eight South African countries.
The restrictions were first announced in late November in response to concerns around Omicron, a new highly addictive variant of COVID-19. Omicron was first spotted in South Africa.
Restrictions focused on travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Esvatini, Mozambique and Malawi. U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents were not limited by restrictions, but still had to take a negative test before traveling.
“On December 31, @POTUS will lift temporary travel restrictions to South African countries. This decision was recommended by @CDCgov,” White House spokesman Kevin Munoz said. Twitter. “The limitations have given us time to understand Omicron and know that our existing vaccines work against Omicron, [especially] reinforced.”
While Omicron has many more mutations than previously discovered variants, early data from South Africa and the United Kingdom suggest that patients face a lower risk of hospitalization with this particular variant. It could be that Omicron is milder or that more people are immune from previous infections or vaccinations, CBS News reported.
Fully vaccinated and reinforced individuals have more infections, but they generally seem to be doing better than … in the past, “said Dr. Jon LaPook, CBS News‘chief medical correspondent. However, he warned, “you have weaker immunity, especially against Omicron” and advised people to get boosters to significantly boost their immunity.
Omicron also expanded rapidly to the United States and Europe. Most COVID-19 cases in the United States are now due to this variant.
It is still unclear what effect Omicron will ultimately have in the United States, although drug manufacturers have said studies show that some of the current treatments have continued effectiveness in treatment.
The World Health Organization condemned travel restrictions when they were published.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on that COVID-19.
SOURCE: CBS News