After Panic, Biden Is Lifting the Travel Ban on African Countries


Source: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.


By Katie Pavlich

On November 26 President Joe Biden announced a travel ban on eight African countries after South Africa reported the latest variant of Wuhan coronavirus had been detected. At the time, a number of the countries listed had no reported cases of the new variant.

“The United States Government, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), within the Department of Health and Human Services, has 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 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,” a White House proclamation stated.

The move was blasted by South African doctors, who argued they were being punished for transparency and good reporting. Just days after the ban was implemented, the variant was found in a number of U.S. states.

“As chair of the South African Medical Association and a GP of 33 years’ standing, I have seen a lot over my medical career. But nothing has prepared me for the extraordinary global reaction that met my announcement this week that I had seen a young man in my surgery who had a case of Covid that turned out to be the Omicron variant,” Doctor Angelique Coetze wrote in the Daily Mail. “Quite simply, I have been stunned at the response.”

Four weeks later, Biden plans to lift the ban on December 31.

During a number of briefings at the White House, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was confronted about the inconsistency of the ban.