On Monday, President Joe Biden expected to sign an executive order to impose a ban on most non-U.S. citizens entering the country who have recently been in South Africa in a bid to contain the spread of a new variant of COVID-19.
President Joe Biden will also reimpose an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders.
Dr Anne Schuchat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director (CDC) principal deputy director said in an interview that they are adding South Africa to the restricted list because of the concerning variant present that has already spread beyond South Africa.
She added that the agency was “putting in place this suite of measures to protect Americans and also to reduce the risk of these variants spreading and worsening the current pandemic.”
South African Covid-19 variant
The South African variant, also known as the 501Y.V2 variant, is 50% more infectious and has been detected in at least 20 countries raising some concerns with the health officials that the current vaccine may not be effective against the new strain.
The ban comes when the South African government is considering raising taxes to fund the coronavirus vaccines.