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COVID-19 restrictions to begin Monday in response to new omicron variant

Mandated regulations limit travel from certain African countries

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KYMA, KECY/CNN) - Though the airline industry expects Sunday to be the busiest travel day of the year, fears surrounding the omicron coronavirus variant will soon put a damper on air travel.

The U.S. government has ordered restrictions on international flights, starting Monday, November 29. The following African nations have been limited due to recent COVID-19 omicron detections:

  • South Africa
  • Botswana
  • Zimbabwe
  • Namibia
  • Lesotho
  • Eswatini
  • Mozambique
  • Malawi

President Joe Biden spoke about the ban while vacationing in Massachusetts.

"We don't know a lot about the variant, except that it's of great concern and it's spreading rapidly," he shared. "We decided that we're going to be cautious."

Unless a traveler can prove American citizenship or legal permanent status, travelers from the eight African countries will actually be banned from flying directly to the U.S.

However, they could still find their way to America by flying to a nation which hasn't blocked South-African travel.

"We cannot prevent a pandemic in any part of the world, because the world has become a global village," shared bystander Larry Eyong.

Eyong picked up someone from an African country not on the travel ban list. He thinks by the time any country or airline forces restrictions, it'll already be too late.

"Before the scientists can collect the data, these people are all over the world," he added. "That's why we're having strain after strain."

At least a dozen other nations have joined the U.S. in issuing travel bans against South Africa and the seven neighboring countries.

Nevertheless, the World Health Organization says it has reason to believe that the new variant has already spread outside of Africa.

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Caleb J. Fernández

Upon earning his bachelor’s degree from The Pennsylvania State University in Advertising/Public Relations, Caleb went straight to New York City where he learned the necessities of production assistance, photography and art direction. Please reach out via email at if you’re interested in collaborating.

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Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

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