US to impose travel restriction on South Africa


WASHINGTON: US President Joe Biden’s administration will on Monday impose a ban on most non-American citizens from entering the country if they had recently travelled to South Africa, where a new Covid-19 strain has been detected.
According to US media reports on Sunday, Biden is also expected to reinstate broader restrictions that would affect non-US citizens travelling from the Schengen area of Europe, Britain, Ireland, which share a common visa process.
The curbs will also affect travellers from Brazil, an NBC News report said on Sunday citing White House officials as saying.
Former President Donald Trump had planned to rescind these restrictions effective from Tuesdayonwards, Xinhua news agency reported.
The media report have also said that the US was yet to detected any cases of the coronavirus variant detected in South Africa, but several states have detected the other strain discovered in Britain.
Also on Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that beginning Tuesday, it will no longer consider exceptions to its requirement that international travellers present negative coronavirus tests, NBC News reported.
Airlines had asked the agency to relax the rule for some countries with limited testing capacity.
“As variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, there is growing evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants, as well as unknown health and vaccine implications,” a CDC spokesman said in a statement.
“Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of Covid-19 and emerging variants.”
A year into the Covid-19 pandemic, the US is still fighting a brutal battle against the virus as its total number of infections has topped 25 million.
In its latest update on Monday morning, the the Johns Hopkins University revealed that the country’s overall caseload and death toll stood at 25,123,857 and 419,204, respectively.
The US remains the nation worst hit by the pandemic, with the world’s most cases and deaths, making up more than 25 per cent of the global caseload and nearly 20 per cent of the global fatalities.

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