Fauci says he does not expect more travel restrictions, although the Omicron variant is proving to be more contagious and deadly

President Joe Biden announced last week that the United States would restrict travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi in response to the new and potentially more transmissible coronavirus variant, first identified by South African scientists. Several other nations have followed suit in restricting travel from southern Africa.

Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper on Monday if he expects more travel restrictions if Omicron were to prove more contagious and deadly, Fauci, Biden’s chief medical officer, replied, “I do not think so, Jake.”

“I think what was done with the restrictions from South Africa and the neighboring countries was only because when the information came out about the molecular composition of this virus with all the mutations that were worrying, we felt we had to to do something right away, “Fauci, longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Tapper about” The Lead. ”

“Hopefully these restrictions will not last very long until we get a handle on what is going on. But we do not expect further restrictions,” he added.

Fauci also said that travel restrictions are not going to have a big impact “in the big picture of whether (the Omicron variant) gets here or not.”

“But … it might give us maybe a few weeks to get better prepared,” he added.

Fauci said U.S. health authorities should know the severity of Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant in about a week or two and that they get their information from colleagues in South Africa with whom officials have been in almost constant contact.

“They have a number of patients that they follow in the medical facilities, and they assured us that they would probably know in a week, a week and a half, whether we are dealing with something or not. It’s mostly “more seriously, just as seriously or less seriously. It can be both,” Fauci said. “Right now, it does not seem like there is a big signal of a high degree of difficulty, but it is too early to say.”

It is unclear whether Omicron will become the dominant tribe in the United States, but that is another reason why officials are following cases in South Africa closely.
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“You know it’s unfortunate that South Africa has been a kind of epicenter, or at least an acknowledgment of it, but the good news is that they are as good as they get when it comes to scientists and public health people, so they will be able to give us some very important information, hopefully within the next week or two, “Fauci said.

Meanwhile, he told Tapper, “the unvaccinated need to be vaccinated and those who are eligible to be boosted should get boosted because we know from experience … that even with variants that are not specifically targeted at of the vaccine, such as the Delta variant, if you get the level of antibody high enough, the protection spreads to the other variants. “

Earlier Monday, Biden urged the American not to panic about the new variant and urged those who have not yet received a booster but are eligible to do so.

“We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicine, the best scientists, and we learn more every single day. And we will fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed – not chaos and confusion.” said the President.


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