Several top aides want stricter immigration enforcement while Biden administration officials are too worried a wrong move could cause another crisis, The Washington Post reported Monday.

US Restricts Travel From South Africa And 7 Other Countries Amid COVID Variant Findings

On Friday, the White House announced travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other African countries to the United States.

This is in response to the new variant of COVID-19 that is being studied by WHO scientists.

Beginning Monday, travel to the United States will cease from:

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

In a statement Friday, President Biden said, “As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will take effect on November 29. As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises.”

The stock market plummeted Friday following reports that a new, more contagious COVID variant is rapidly spreading in South Africa and parts of Europe.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), an index measuring 30 major U.S. corporations, dropped 2.32% immediately after markets opened Friday.

The S&P index, which measures 500 of the largest publicly traded companies, fell 1.72%, while the NASDAQ, an index composed largely of technology firms, declined 1.71%.

The massive slide marked the DJIA’s sharpest decline of the year, historical market data showed. It was also among the largest slides experienced by the S&P 500 and NASDAQ.

“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.”

In addition to the U.S. travel restrictions, 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.

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