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The United States adopts a travel ban in an attempt to limit the spread of the new omicron variant of coronavirus, which the World Health Organization warns poses a “very high” global risk.
As of Monday, President Biden has imposed travel restrictions for non-US nationals from the following eight countries:
- South Africa
The European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom and Israel have also announced travel restrictions from South African countries.
Some health officials and public health experts warn that travel restrictions alone may not be effective in controlling the spread of infectious diseases and may even have harmful effects, such as exacerbating xenophobia and discouraging countries from being transparent about the state of the virus in the future.
The variant was first reported last week in South Africa, where vaccination rates are around 24%.
Cases of the omicron variant have since been confirmed in Botswana, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong.
The bite encourages children and adults to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“This pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations,” he said last week in a statement.
In a speech Monday, he said the variant is “a cause for concern – not a cause for panic.”
Tien Le is an intern at NPR’s News Desk.
This story originally appeared on Morning edition live blog.