The decision to restrict travel comes as the federal government is still attempting to learn more about the new variant. They need to see more sequencing, but after discussing what they’ve seen so far, officials decided to halt travel from these other countries out of concern about what they don’t yet know.
Biden was briefed today on the new coronavirus variant circulating in southern Africa, according to a White House official.
Officials, who are still learning more about the variant, said the policy was implemented out of an abundance of caution given the WHO has now identified this as a variant of concern.
“Our scientists and public health officials are working quickly to learn more about this variant,” one official said.
This does not apply to American citizens and lawful permanent residents. As with all international travelers, they must still test negative prior to travel.
This story is breaking and will be updated.