Biden beefs up travel restrictions in wake of new virus strains

  • January 27, 2021 12:56 PM AEDT
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Biden beefs up travel restrictions in wake of new virus strains


  • Joe Biden’s administration is imposing travel ban on travellers from those countries where new strain of COVID-19 has emerged.
  • The ban is reinforced to avoid the spread of virus and protect Americans from contamination.

United States President Joe Biden is planning to impose a travel ban on most of the non-US citizens entering the country from select places where new virus strains have cropped up. The travel ban is expected to mitigate the spread of the new variant. Along with Ireland and Europe, the president has added South Africa to the list too as the new strain has recently emerged in the region.

The Biden administration is also likely to reimpose the ban on entry from the United Kingdom and Brazil, where the new COVID-19 strains were identified. Former United States President Donald Trump had decided to do away with the restrictions just before the new president was sworn in. However, White House press secretary Jen Psaki had criticised Trump’s decision to lift the restrictions on international travel after the contagious virus variant was identified in many parts of the world.

Image Source: ©Kalkine Group 2020

Details on travel ban:

The Biden administration has decided to impose the travel ban in order ro protect the Americans from the new strain and control the virus’s spread. The new suite of measures will help reduce the risk of new variants. Psaki said on social media that the agency was also planning to strengthen the public health measures for international travel.

The government will also start mandating air travellers, including the US citizens. The travellers will have to show recent COVID-19 negative test results to board the flight, beginning 26 January.

Image Source: ©Kalkine Group 2020

Why Biden reinforced travel ban?

Dr Anthony Fauci, a White House health advisor, informed the media that the vaccine appears to be less effective against the new virus strain which is more contagious. However, the vaccine does provide enough protection, making it worth a shot. There is also a possibility that the country will ask airlines to stop the flights from countries with inadequate COVID-19 testing.

Since the coronavirus pandemic’s onset, more than 417,000 people have been killed in the country, despite the US having one of the most robust healthcare systems in the world. The new variant from South Africa has not been detected in the US yet; however, the UK's variant has emerged in various states.

The COVID-19 virus, similar to other viruses, has the ability to mutate. That makes these viruses help make copies of itself to spread and thrive. These tiny genetic changes which happen can usually be inconsequential. However, in some cases, some harmful mutants can survive and spread becoming more infectious or threatening.

Currently, more than thousands of different strains of coronaviruses are circulating among humans. One such mutant has emerged in South Africa called 501.V2. However, the scientists have not found any evidence to prove the 501.V2 variant is causing severe illness to the people infected with it.



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