WASHINGTON: United States President Joseph Biden has banned eSwatini citizens from traveling to the US as the COVID-19 fourth wave looms.
Effective November 29, the US has joined other countries in banning travel from 8-countries: “travelers entering the United States from the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe.”
Eswatini has vaccinated 250,000 people, according to World Bank calculations and aims to reach 820,658 to a 70% vaccination rate.
Biden’s “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019” goes into effect Monday, November 29.
The US says, “The national emergency caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in the United States continues to pose a grave threat to our health and security”after the U.S had 773,000 COVID-19 deaths it “reexamined its policies on international travel and concluded that further measures are required to protect the public health from travelers entering the United States from” the 8-countries.
The Proclamation released by the White House, explains the President’s reasons saying, “Given the recommendation of the CDC, working in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, described above, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to suspend and restrict the entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of noncitizens of the United States (“noncitizens”) who were physically present” in those Southern African countries.
The news comes just 18-days after the United States Governmentput into effect new international travelers that have gone into effect, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs Rena Bitter and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Global Migration and Quarantine Dr. Marty Cetron announced that the U.S. was re-opening travel to, “all foreign national nonimmigrant travelers” on November 8.
In light of the new Omicron variant, the European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen said they have proposed an emergency ban for air travel from Southern Africa to its member states.
“All air travel to these countries should be suspended. They should be suspended until we have a clear understanding about the danger posed by this new variant," Von der Leyen said on Friday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) gave the new variant the name. Initially called the SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529, it has been named Omicron. The White House confirmed South Africa informed the WHO they had detected the new variant that cause COVID-19 on November 24.
The Proclamation “does not apply to persons aboard a flight scheduled to arrive in the United States that departed prior to 12:01am eastern standard time on November 29, 2021.”
By the end of October, the U S had hit a milestone of delivering COVID-19 vaccine doses to 100-countries and has donated more than 200 million vaccine doses, including to some Southern African countries.
United States President Joseph Biden