Omicron: Biden Lifting Travel Restrictions On Southern African Countries

The Biden administration is lifting restrictions on eight southern African countries
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The Biden administration is lifting restrictions on eight southern African countries that were put in place last month after the Omicron variant was first identified in South Africa, two administration officials told CNN.

The restrictions will lift on December 31 at 12:01 a.m. ET, the officials said. News of the lifted restrictions was first reported by Reuters.

President Joe Biden ordered the restrictions in late November on the advice of his public health officials, cutting off most travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The measures barred nearly all foreign nationals who had been "physically present" in the countries during the "14-day period preceding their entry, or attempted entry into the United States." US citizens, lawful permanent residents and noncitizens who are the spouses of citizens or permanent residents were exempt.

Biden and his coronavirus response team stressed at the time that the measure was a temporary effort to slow the spread of the Omicron variant and give US officials time to assess the variant and prepare for it to hit the US. Read more.

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