Omicron: In the wake of the latest Omicron cases, Biden tightens travel restrictions
As the US confirms a handful of cases of the Omicron version from coast to coast, President Joe Biden has announced harsher COVID-19 travel limits.
International visitors to the United States, including Americans, must receive a COVID test within one day of departure starting next week, regardless of vaccination status.
The requirement for wearing a mask on planes, trains, and buses will be prolonged until the middle of March. There will also be millions of free and insurer-funded home tests available.
In the United States, ten cases of the Omicron variety have been discovered: in California, Colorado, Minnesota, and New York, as well as in Hawaii, where the person had no recent travel history. In these situations, state health officials have recorded very minor symptoms. According to estimates, the variation has now been discovered in up to 30 countries.
Concerns that COVID cases will rise this winter have prompted the US to recommend that all people get booster vaccines. According to the president, over 40 million Americans have received COVID boosters, while an estimated 100 million more are eligible but have yet to receive them.
Hundreds of family vaccination clinics will be established across the country in an effort to increase immunisation rates among children and teenagers.
Officials stated commercial insurers would be required to reimburse their 150 million clients for at-home COVID tests purchased, while 50 million tests would be given away for free to the uninsured through health centres and rural clinics. However, test reimbursement does not begin until January, following the holiday season, when there is more travel and indoor mixing.
The United States and a number of other countries have imposed travel bans on eight countries in southern Africa. Travel limitations, according to health experts, will afford them time to research the new variety.
There was no recent travel history for the person in Hawaii. According to health professionals, this indicated that community transmission had likely already begun. Officials said the Hawaii victim was suffering from mild to moderate symptoms and was isolating himself at home.