Dr Anthony Fauci suggested on Wednesday that he hoped some travel restrictions imposed by the Biden administration in light of the Omicron coronavirus variant would be ‘addressed and lifted’ when asked about the countries included in the ban that have not yet identified Omicron cases, including Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
âYou know, that’s a really good question, an important question, and we struggled with that. But we wanted to see if we could buy some time temporarily, so hopefully this will be sorted out and lifted before it has a significant impact on the country, âsaid Fauci, director of the National Allergy Institute and infectious diseases.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration imposed restrictions on travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. So far, the Omicron variant has been detected in at least 24 countries, including the United States.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated the restrictions were meant to buy time and are not meant to be permanent.
âThe President is informed daily by his Covid team and will continue to assess, based on their recommendations, any additional measures that need to be taken. As Dr Fauci noted, there is a lot we don’t know. The purpose of putting these travel restrictions in place was therefore to give us more time to complete the assessment, data and testing necessary that our health experts are working around the clock. And they made that assessment and that recommendation on where we would put these travel restrictions in place in order to give us that time, âPsaki told reporters later in the briefing.
She continued, “We want to know more, to know more, but the president is always going to err on the side of protecting the American people.”
Psaki added that the restrictions were “not a political decision” but rather “based on the advice – the recommendations – of the medical and health team”.