United States (US) President Joe Biden has imposed a COVID-19 travel ban on South Africa due to new virus variants.
“On the advice of our administration’s medical and Covid team, President Biden has decided to maintain the restrictions previously in place for the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and Brazil,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
She added, “With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, this isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel. And in light of the contagious variant, B1351, South Africa has been added to the restricted list.”
All international travelers must also present a negative test within three days of air travel to the US.
This comes just as Former President Donald Trump’s administration had ordered the ban that was to end on January 26 as one of his final acts in office.
Other affected countries are Brazil and most of Europe, including the UK and Ireland.
Coronavirus cases in the US have surpassed 25 million cases with the vaccine rollout expected to begin.
As of today, January 26, 2021, COVID-19 cases in South Arica are nearing the 1.5 million mark. Consequently, over 40,000 deaths have been recorded since the pandemic hit.
South Africa also recorded the new variant of coronavirus, 501.V2, which is more contagious and has quickly become dominant in many areas of the resurgence, according to experts.