Dr. Anthony Fauci, said on Sunday that Americans should be prepared to do “anything and everything” to fight the spread of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron, including lockdowns.
It is “too early to say” whether we need new lockdowns or mandates, Fauci told ABC News on Sunday.
The latest variant of the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in the United States as of yet, but Fauci said Sunday, it’s coming.
“We all know when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitably it will be here,” Fauci told ABC’s “This Week” anchor George Stephanopoulos. “The question is, will be prepared for it?
The discovery of a new coronavirus variant sent US stocks tumbling Friday as nations around the globe halt air travel, and scientists hold emergency meetings with the World Health Organization to weigh risks of the virus variant.
Medical experts, including the World Health Organization, warned against any overreaction before the variant that originated in southern Africa was better understood.
“There’s a lot we don’t understand about this variant,” infectious disease expert Richard Lessells said during a press briefing hosted by South Africa’s health department Thursday, according to Nature. “The mutation profile gives us concern, but now we need to do the work to understand the significance of this variant and what it means for the response to the pandemic.”
Several European countries implemented restrictions on travel to South Africa Friday, joining Singapore, Israel, the U.K., and the Netherlands, The New York Times reported.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned global leaders against jumping to conclusions, the so-called B.1.1.529 variant continues to rapidly spread across southern Africa and has been reported in Europe and Asia, according to the BBC.
On Friday, Biden announced a new travel ban on several African nations due to an outbreak of a new variant of the coronavirus.
“As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries,” Biden said in a statement.
Besides South Africa, the affected nations include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
The ban kicks in on Monday and applies only to “noncitizens” who seek to enter the U.S.
“It is the policy of my Administration to implement science-based public health measures, across all areas of the Federal Government, to act swiftly and aggressively to prevent further spread of the disease,” Biden said in the statement.
“Given the recommendation of the CDC, working in close coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, … I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to suspend and restrict the entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of noncitizens of the United States (‘noncitizens’) who were physically present within” the nations he identified.
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