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The Biden administration is lifting its ban on air journey to the US from eight African nations, reversing restrictions President Biden introduced final month shortly after the invention of the omicron coronavirus variant. 

The journey ban utilized to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. The president initially mentioned the restriction was “a precautionary measure till we now have extra info,” however inside a couple of weeks omicron turned the dominant variant in the US.

President Biden is lifting the journey restrictions he put in place on eight African nations on the finish of the 12 months.
(Drew Angerer/Getty Photographs)

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“On the time these restrictions have been put in place, it was clear that there was widespread neighborhood transmission in South Africa, in addition to quite a lot of cross-border journey within the area and little surveillance in lots of the nations close to South Africa,” a senior administration official informed Fox Information Friday. “We’ll carry these restrictions efficient Friday, December 31 at 12:01 AM.”

The official mentioned the president is lifting the journey ban as a result of there’s extra details about the omicron variant now and since omicron is so pervasive in the US, “worldwide vacationers from these nations won’t have a big impression on US instances.”

Travelers make their way through Miami International Airport on Dec. 23, 2021, in Miami. U.S. holiday travel numbers are rivaling 2019 amid an omicron variant surge, and President Biden is rescinding his travel ban on eight African countries where the variant first spread. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Vacationers make their method via Miami Worldwide Airport on Dec. 23, 2021, in Miami. U.S. vacation journey numbers are rivaling 2019 amid an omicron variant surge, and President Biden is rescinding his journey ban on eight African nations the place the variant first unfold. (Picture by Joe Raedle/Getty Photographs)

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Reuters first reported the story. 

The president instantly fell below important political stress after he carried out the ban on the African nations. Many in contrast the Biden journey ban to the ban former President Donald Trump placed on Chinese language vacationers early in 2020 – which Biden on the time advised was “xenophobic.” 

In reality, Biden introduced the journey ban simply hours after his chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, mentioned on CNN that he wasn’t positive the White Home had sufficient info to justify a ban. 

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Fauci and other top administration officials indicated in recent weeks that the president was considering lifting his ban on travel from eight African countries where the omicron variant first spread. 

Anthony Fauci, director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Ailments, speaks through the every day briefing on the White Home in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. Fauci and different high administration officers indicated in current weeks that the president was contemplating lifting his ban on journey from eight African nations the place the omicron variant first unfold. 
(AP Picture/Susan Walsh, File))

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After the ban was carried out, the U.S. Journey Affiliation known as on the president to rethink. 

“Covid variants are of concern, however closed borders haven’t prevented their presence in the US whereas vaccinations have confirmed extremely sturdy,” the group mentioned. “That’s the reason America’s journey trade is a vocal proponent of everybody getting a vaccine. With a vaccine and testing requirement in place to enter the U.S. we proceed to consider that assessing a person’s threat and well being standing is the easiest way to welcome certified world vacationers into the US.” 

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In current weeks, the president and high-level officers signaled that they have been contemplating rescinding the journey ban, however made no official announcement till Friday.

Whereas omicron seems considerably extra contagious than earlier COVID-19 variants, research recommend it’s not as more likely to trigger hospitalization or dying, notably in vaccinated folks. 

Fox Information’ Peter Aitken, Greg Norman, Sam Dorman, Andrew Mark Miller and the Related Press contributed to this report.