The omicron-linked travel ban is lifted by the White House in eight southern African countries. The initial ban was imposed for preventing the spread of the new covid variant, omicron.
The announcement was made on Friday and said that the lift of the ban will come to effect by New Year’s Eve.
Why the Sudden Lift in the Ban?
As the US is already facing a sudden surge in omicron cases every day, the officials said that such curbing measures will have no effect. If you study the recent data, it is seen that the new variant is increasing in daily cases.
The World Health Organization informed that the omicron variant originated from South Africa. The scientists of South Africa first reported this variant which has now almost spread all over the world.
However, the sudden travel ban was heavily criticized by WHO and the South African leaders.
The EU and UK were the first to announce the travel ban. So, the US and a couple of other countries were the next to put such a ban.
Even the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres didn’t appreciate this move and criticized it by calling it “travel apartheid”.
But Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a response to defend their decision and said that it was “done at a time when we were really in the dark”.
He further stated, “We all feel very badly about the hardship that might have been put upon not only South Africa but the other African countries.”
Due to the November 29th ban, non-U.S. citizens who visited areas of South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and even Mozambique were not allowed to enter the county.
On the other hand, Kevin Munoz, a White House spokesman further took to Twitter to declare that such a decision was taken upon recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Since there was a temporary travel ban, scientists could buy a lot of time to investigate the omicron variant. It also gave the scientists an idea about whether the current vaccinations will prove to be effective.
In his tweet, Munoz tweeted, “The restrictions gave us time to understand Omicron and we know our existing vaccines work against Omicron, esp boosted.”
Updates on Omicron in the US
The omicron variant is completely new and associated facts are yet to be known. Scientists said that omicron will spread faster compared to any strain but it isn’t as harmful as any other variant.
According to the latest studies, almost 73% of new infections are reported to be omicron. It is said that the infections are hardly making anyone critically ill or leading to hospitalization.
This week alone, covid cases have increased by 160,000. To be precise, it is double the average of late November.
The holidays have also been a major reason for the huge surge in the covid cases. Hospitals are slowly filling up seats but the pressure is still under control.
But as this is one of the busiest seasons for business, the plans for Christmas and New Year seemed to be ruined for citizens. Malls, restaurants, pubs, and all other commercial businesses have come to a halt.
Even multiple sports events, NBA and NFL games were postponed due to this unforeseen outbreak.
Hawai Bowl that was expected to happen on Friday was ultimately canceled as Hawai has to withdraw itself from the game. Lastly, the airlines are facing staff shortages that are making the entire situation worse.
But scientists are saying that the omicron wave will soon die out and people can win back their normal life until a new threat arises. With the New Year, citizens are expecting that things will get better.