US confirms South African travel ban will come into effect on Saturday

Los Angeles International Airport, LAX (Getty Images)

  • People who’ve travelled via or from South Africa will be denied entry into the US from Saturday, 30 January 2021.
  • The White House confirmed on Monday night time that new US President Joe Biden had signed the related order.
  • Only US residents are exempt from the travel restrictions, however will nonetheless be subjected to Covid-19 testing and quarantine measures.
  • The ban additionally extends to Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and 26 different nations within the European Schengen.
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The United States is the most recent nation to ban travel from South Africa, fearing the unfold of a extra infectious Covid-19 variant often called 501Y.V2.

The new travel restrictions, which bar entry to any one that has travelled via or from South Africa, will come into effect on Saturday 30 January 2021.

The White House on Monday night time (South African time) confirmed that new US President Joe Biden had signed the related order.

“With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, this isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki advised a media convention.

The 501Y.V2 variant, which was first detected within the Eastern Cape, is considerably extra infectious than the preliminary virus and has already unfold to no less than 23 different nations.

See additionally | SA’s 501.V2 coronavirus variant is now in no less than 23 nations – and that isn’t all dangerous

The US, which has the world’s highest coronavirus an infection degree and Covid-19 deaths, has not but detected the 501Y.V2 variant, and the newly inaugurated Biden intends to restrict the importation of extra menacing mutations.

Overruling an earlier reprieve signed by Donald Trump through the remaining days of his presidential time period, Biden reimposed a raft of strict travel bans on the recommendation of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Concerns across the 501Y.V2 variant – together with different mutations noticed within the UK and, extra just lately Brazil – have additionally been raised by the White House’s high advisor, Anthony Fauci.

Fauci famous {that a} spike in transmissibility would finally result in extra deaths on account of elevated infections and hospitalisations.

Vaccines, whereas nonetheless efficient towards the brand new variants, will have a diminished efficacy in combatting 501Y.V2, based on Fauci.

See additionally | Moderna is working on a brand new model of its Covid-19 shot designed to combat the South African variant

The United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 different nations within the European Schengen space, which have allowed travel throughout open borders, will even be subjected to the US’ new restrictions. The ban has additionally been prolonged to Brazil.

Only US residents coming back from restricted nations will be exempt from the travel ban. Repatriates will nonetheless, nevertheless, be subjected to necessary Covid-19 testing and quarantine protocols.   

South African travellers have already been banned from coming into a number of nations, together with Vietnam, Dubai, the UK, and Israel, for the reason that 501Y.V2 variant was named in December 2020.

The US’ new restrictions coincide with a CDC order which requires that each one travellers intent on coming into the nation produce a unfavorable Covid-19 PCR take a look at obtained inside 72 hours of the scheduled time of arrival.

Even with a unfavorable take a look at, returning residents and people travelling from low-risk areas, are suggested to self-isolate for no less than seven days and submit one other pattern for testing earlier than venturing out.

See additionally | SA has now seen 110,000 ‘excess’ deaths – with a pointy rise among the many underneath 60s in latest weeks

Traveller’s who’ve examined constructive for he coronavirus inside three months of their scheduled departure aren’t suggested to endure additional testing, because of the prevalence of false-positives and are, as an alternative, required to supply “documentation of recovery” as described by the CDC. This consists of the unique constructive take a look at outcome and letter from a healthcare supplier that confirms the tip of the isolation interval.

Although worldwide flights between South Africa and the US have been severely restricted for the reason that begin of the worldwide outbreak and, extra so, through the coronavirus’ second wave, there are a number of airways which will must droop energetic routes because of the most up-to-date restrictions.

South African travellers hoping to make it to the US earlier than the ban comes into effect on Saturday will have to rely on Air France, Ethiopian Airlines, or Qatar Airways. These airways are providing flights from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Flying to the US’ east coast on considered one of these airways will contain no less than one stopover and 26 hours of travelling.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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