US imposes travel ban on some African nations due to COVID-19 omicron variant

The United States imposed a travel ban Monday on eight African countries in an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 omicron variant.

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This ban applies to non-U.S. citizens from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.

President Joe Biden announced the ban Friday amid the emergence of the newest virus variant.

The omicron variant has already been detected in South Africa, Canada, and parts of Europe. However, the World Health Organization has urged countries not to impose travel bans.

"Travel restrictions may play a role in slightly reducing the spread of COVID-19 but place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods," said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO's regional director for Africa. "If restrictions are implemented, they should not be unnecessarily invasive or intrusive, and should be scientifically based, according to the International Health Regulations, which is a legally binding instrument of international law recognized by over 190 nations."