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U.S. To Restrict Travel from South Africa and Seven Other Countries

The World Health Organization panel has identified a new variant of the COVID-19 virus, and named the variant omicron. Omicron was classified as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the delta variant, the world's most prevalent strain. The panel said early evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection.

In response, the United States joined the European Union and several other countries in instituting travel restrictions on visitors from southern Africa. The White House said the U.S. will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries (Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi) in the region beginning Monday. It did not give details except to say the restrictions will not apply to returning U.S. citizens or permanent residents, who will continue to be required to test negative before their travel.

We will share more information when it becomes available.

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