The United States will restrict travel from South Africa as well as several other countries, the White House recently announced.
The travel restrictions apply to non-US citizens and will be effective from Monday.
The announcement follows the news of the super-variant of COVID-19 that has now been dubbed “Omicron”.
The policy, senior administration officials said, “was implemented out of an abundance of caution,” and after advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci as per NBC news.
Other countries included in the restriction — which does not apply to U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents — are Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
The decision came less than three-weeks after the US decided to lift pandemic restrictions.
“We don’t know very much about this yet,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist and the WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead said in a Thursday video. “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.”
There are 122 flights between the U.S. and South Africa scheduled for December, according to aviation consulting firm Cirium, as CNBC news reports.