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A new variant of the coronavirus. The US and Canada are restricting travelers from Africa

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From Monday, November 29, the United States will introduce a border crossing ban for arrivals from eight African countries. The reason is the detection of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus in South Africa – Omikron – said US President Joe Biden. Canada is also introducing restrictions on travelers from Africa.

The US prohibits travelers from 8 African countries

The ban applies to people arriving from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Mozambique and Malawi. Non-US citizens who have stayed in these countries 14 days prior to travel will not be allowed to cross the US border.


According to sources in the administration, the list may be expanded.

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The president informed that the ban does not apply to flights from these countries alone, or to US citizens and persons with the right to permanent residence in the US.

Reuter notes that the new coronavirus variant presents another challenge for Biden, who has had little success in persuading Americans to get vaccinated. Biden is also criticized for not sending more Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries despite announcements.

The American airline association Airlines for America expressed some surprise at the president’s decision and stressed in a published statement that “there are many unanswered questions” and that “the details of the decision remain unknown.”

The airlines pointed out that “any decision to restrict international travel should be based on science.”

Chicago O’Hare airportPAP / EPA / TANNEN MAURY

State of emergency in the state of New York

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced the introduction of a state of emergency from December 3 on fear of a potential surge in Covid-19 behavior over the winter. The recently identified new variant of the Omikron coronavirus is of particular concern.

There has been an increase in infections with Delta variants across the state. The state of emergency is to enable the preparation of supplies for the battle with the pandemic, increase the capacity of hospitals and prevent staff shortages. It will allow the state department of health to reduce less urgent procedures in hospitals. – We still see the warning signals for the coming winter and although the new variant of the Omikron has not yet been detected in New York State, it is already coming – says Hochul on NBC.

The governor renewed her call on New Yorkers to vaccinate against the coronavirus. She noted that slightly less than 10 percent of adults in New York State did not get a single injection. “The vaccine remains one of our most effective weapons in fighting the pandemic, and I encourage every New Yorker to get vaccinated and take a booster dose if fully vaccinated,” the governor said.

Hochul made the decision on a state of emergency hours after she announced that her office was closely monitoring a new variant that was discovered in South Africa. It contains about 50 mutations from the original SARS CoV-2 virus that appeared in China in 2019.

These messages shook the financial markets globally; The Dow Jones index recorded the worst result in over a year. The United States has joined Canada and much of Europe in blocking travelers from several African countries.

Canada restricts travelers from Africa

Due to the new and possibly more infectious variant of the coronavirus, Canada has imposed restrictions on travelers from seven African countries where the variant has been reported, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said on Friday.

A ban on entry to Canada has been introduced for all travelers who have been to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (former Suazi), Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the last 14 days.

There are no direct flights to Canada from any of these countries, but they still fly to the US, European and Middle East countries. All those who have flown in from these seven African countries in the past two weeks have been asked to test for COVID-19 without delay and stay home for two weeks.

Canadians traveling with them and having the right of permanent residence in Canada will be able to enter Canada, but have several obligations. These people will have to undergo a molecular test in the country from which they will fly to Canada. After landing, they will have to conduct one more test, and you will have to wait for its results in a designated hotel. If the test results negative, travelers will still have to stay in their own home in quarantine for 14 days, and on day eight have another coronavirus test done.

As the federal chief physician of the country, Dr. Theresa Tam, the so-called the Omikron variant has not yet been detected in Canada.

The World Health Organization announced on Friday that it is in the countries of South Africa that the Omikron variant is most common and that this variant has many mutations.

In Canada, more than 1.77 million cases of Covid-19 have been recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, 29.6 thousand have died. people. The so-called There are currently 23,113 active cases, the federal health ministry said. According to the site Covid19tracker.ca. among Canadians from the age of 5, almost 79.6% were fully vaccinated, and over 83% received one dose. The vaccine for children 5-11 years of age was approved a week ago and vaccination for this age group began earlier this week.

Omikron – a new variant of the coronavirus

A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in South Africa. The first case of a new variant was detected in Europe on Friday. The infection was confirmed in a woman in Belgium.

During Friday’s meeting of the World Health Organization, it was decided that B.1.1.529 would be raised to the rank of the “disturbing” variant. He received the name Omicron. The new variant, according to WHO, is arguably more contagious than the previous ones, and contains “a large number of mutations, some of which are worrying.” The organization also said preliminary data suggest that, compared to current strains of the coronavirus, Omikron carries a greater risk of re-infection.

Main photo source: PAP / EPA / TANNEN MAURY

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