The new variant omicron, which was first detected in South Africa, has become a variant of concern, especially after the CEO of Moderna expressed doubts about its vaccine’s efficacy.
The President at the White House made it clear that they are not looking forward to implementing another lockdown and stopping economic activity from flowing at its usual pace, rather they would be increasing vaccination drives, encouraging all to be vaccinated, and also make sure people adhere to Covid-19 protocols such as wearing masks, responsible social distancing norms to be followed.
Yet when it came to the detection of the variant in several nations, the White House was forced to reconsider its decision at least over the resumption of international flights. Many nations such as Japan, and EU nations have closed their borders entirely, to a large number of countries to contain the developments.
Currently, the mechanism which is being put in place is by imposing mandatory pre-flight covid-19 negative report, irrespective of the vaccination status of any passenger. Since it was affirmed that the virus can be detected using existing technology, the requirement is tightened and kept at a 24-hour window before departure.
On Tuesday evening when the President was questioned on how long the most recent restrictions going to remain in place, Biden said, “Well, it depends. It’s going week to week to determine what the need and what the state of affairs is. We’re going to learn a lot more in the next couple of weeks”, he said keeping in mind the new omicron variant.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director, Rochelle Walensky, shared that the agency was considering implementing measures such as reducing the testing window for travelers entering into the country and adding quarantine requirements in where speculations suggest that the positivity rate is high or a variant of concern has been located.
The measures which were put in place last week suggested that foreign nationals who have visited any of the 8 South African nations in the last 2 weeks may be barred from entry temporarily, the duration of the restriction is not yet final.