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“Unjustified”: Biden’s travel ban, spurred by Omicron COVID variant, targets Africa

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The Omicron variant is the latest challenge facing the Biden Administration’s pandemic response. The first cases were identified in South Africa, but the variant has since spread to more than 25 countries, including the U.S. However, President Biden’s travel ban only applies to eight African countries.

The restrictions have been met with criticism. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the travel bans ‘unjustified’.

“The imposition of travel bans on South Africa, and a number of countries from southern Africa, are regrettable, unfair and unscientific,” Ramaphosa said. “Given that it was our own scientists, African scientists, who first detected the Omicron variant, it is also a slap in the face to African excellence and expertise.”

Some of the loudest criticism has come from American conservatives, who say Biden’s recent actions are hypocritical. They point to March 2020, when he tweeted criticism of then-President Trump for implementing travel restrictions on Europe.

The World Health Organization weighed in, as well, labeling the recent travel bans as ‘ineffective’.

Biden says while travel bans won’t stop the variant, they can help stall its spread.

“Give us time to get people to get protection, to be vaccinated and get the booster. That’s the reason for it,“ Biden said.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN took SWIFT ACTION AFTER scientists in South Africa identified – OMICRON-THE NEWEST COVID VARIANT. 

President Biden: “The reason for the immediate travel ban is there were a significant number of cases, unlike any other country.”

A U.S. TRAVEL BAN FROM EIGHT AFRICAN COUNTRIES IS NOW IN PLACE…WITH CANADA, THE UK, AND THE EUROPEAN UNION ALL FOLLOWING SUIT. 

THOUGH CRITICISM OF THE BAN HAS BEEN EQUALLY WIDESPREAD. 

THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION CALLS THE BANS INEFFECTIVE. 

SOUTH AFRICAN LEADERS CALL IT CRIPPLING. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa: “The only thing the prohibition on travel will do is to further damage the economies of the affected countries and undermine the ability to respond.”

BUT THE LOUDEST CRITICS ARE FROM THE RIGHT- WHO SAY BIDEN IS HYPOCRITICAL. 

Representative Nancy Mace: “The crazy part is when President Trump did this he was labeled as racist, but when President Biden does this it’s seemingly entirely okay.”

She’s referencing tweets Biden made IN EARLY 2020, FOLLOWING TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ON CHINA AND EUROPE. CHARACTERIZING THEM AS INEFFECTIVE AND TRUMP AS XENOPHOBIC

PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI defended the president saying the tweets LACK context.  

Jen Psaki: “What the President was critical of , was the former president put out i believe a xenophobic tweet. And what he, what he called the coronavirus and who he directed it at.” 

POLITICS ASIDE, HOW EFFECTIVE ARE THESE BANS? 

A STUDY BY THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON SUGGESTS THAT ANY BENEFITS OF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS ARE ONLY TEMPORARY. 

OMICRON has already been identified IN THE US. 

BUT BIDEN SAYS LIMITED TRAVEL FROM EPICENTERS- LIKE SOUTH AFRICA, WILL HELP STALL THE VIRUS’ spread. 

President Biden: “Give us time to get people to get protection, to be vaccinated and get the booster. That’s the reason for it.“

PRESIDENT BIDEN HASN’T COMMITTED TO A TIMELINE ON THE TRAVEL BAN, BUT SAYS HIS TEAM WILL ASSESS IT ON A WEEK TO WEEK BASIS. 

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE LATEST TRAVEL BAN? 

LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. 

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The Omicron variant is the latest challenge facing the Biden Administration’s pandemic response. The first cases were identified in South Africa, but the variant has since spread to more than 25 countries, including the U.S. However, President Biden’s travel ban only applies to eight African countries.

The restrictions have been met with criticism. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has called the travel bans ‘unjustified’.

“The imposition of travel bans on South Africa, and a number of countries from southern Africa, are regrettable, unfair and unscientific,” Ramaphosa said. “Given that it was our own scientists, African scientists, who first detected the Omicron variant, it is also a slap in the face to African excellence and expertise.”

Some of the loudest criticism has come from American conservatives, who say Biden’s recent actions are hypocritical. They point to March 2020, when he tweeted criticism of then-President Trump for implementing travel restrictions on Europe.

The World Health Organization weighed in, as well, labeling the recent travel bans as ‘ineffective’.

Biden says while travel bans won’t stop the variant, they can help stall its spread.

“Give us time to get people to get protection, to be vaccinated and get the booster. That’s the reason for it,“ Biden said.

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