Has been detected in nearly 20 states across the nation
WASHINGTON, D.C. (KYMA, KECY/CNN) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is announcing plans to increase travel rules in response to the omicron variant.
All inbound international travelers must test negative for coronavirus within one day of departure starting Monday, December 6.
While the delta variant is the cause of most new coronavirus cases in America, U.S. health officials say they've detected the new omicron variant in at least 17 states.
As a result, the the federal government is changing the rules for entering the country beginning Monday.
"And we're following them closely and we are everyday hearing about more and more probable cases so that number is likely to rise," shared CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
This caution has led U.S. officials to once again tighten air-travel regulations. The new order begins affecting flights at 12:01 a.m. EST.
As long as a passenger is two years or older, this restriction applies to him/her. However, there's no requirement for post-arrival testing or quarantine.
In response to restricting entry from the South African nations originally associated with the omicron variant, President Joe Biden's Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci says America was "In the dark" when that decision was made.
Some south africans say the travel ban is unfair.
"They don't think it's fair because the way in which it's being imposed is quite unevent and a lot of responses in the last few days really smacked in a very knee-jerk way of dealing with this pandemic," expressed Founder and Director of the Health Justice Initiative in South Africa Fatima Hassan. "It goes against the solidarity promised to us at the beginning of this pandemic."
Dr. Fauci says the Biden administration hopes to lift the ban within a 'reasonable period of time.'
"I mean, we all feel very badly about the hardship that that might have put upon not only south africa, but the other African countries and for that reason, in real time, literally, on a daily basis we're reevaluating that policy," the doctor said.