- The U.S. on Friday said it would ban visitors from South Africa and 7 other southern African nations after the detection of the omicron variant.
- Japan, the U.K. and Israel are among the countries that have also put travel restrictions in place to stem the spread of the variant.
- The variant has already been detected in Canada, the U.K., Hong Kong, Israel and other countries.
President Joe Biden on Monday said he doesn’t expect the U.S. to impose additional travel restrictions to stem the spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant, sending some airline stocks higher.
Airline and aerospace stocks fell sharply on Friday after several countries reported cases of the omicron variant and established new travel restrictions. The U.S. on Monday began to temporarily bar visitors from South Africa, where scientists first reported the variant, and from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
The degree of the variant’s spread will determine whether more travel restrictions are necessary, Biden said at a news conference on the variant.
“I don’t anticipate that at this point,” he said. Biden also said he doesn’t think lockdowns are necessary.
The new rules come three weeks after the U.S. lifted strict pandemic travel rules that prohibited entry to foreign visitors from the U.K., Brazil, India, South Africa and nearly 30 other nations. Airline executives said bookings surged after the administration set a date to lift the rules, which were first put in place early in the pandemic.