The Biden administration will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other African countries to try to contain the new variant of the coronavirus, senior administration officials said on Friday.
Starting on Monday, the administration will prohibit travelers from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi from coming to the United States, the officials said.
The travel ban will not apply to American citizens or lawful permanent residents, officials said. But they will need to show a negative coronavirus test before coming to the United States.
The administration made the decision after health officials in the United States consulted with South African scientists on Friday morning, and after the World Health Organization later said the new variant was “of concern” and labeled it Omicron.
Biden administration officials said they were continuing to work with health officials overseas to learn more about the variant.