Covid-19 variant: Nigerians face new U.S travel ban

Nigerians who have recently travelled to South Africa, United Kingdom are now at risk of a new travel ban to be imposed by the United States Government following newly-inaugurated President, Joe Biden’s move to bar non-U.S. citizens who have been to countries where the new Covid-19 variant have been detected, from entering the country.

The ban is expected to take effect from Saturday.

This, according to US authorities is in a bid to contain the spread of a new variant of COVID-19, U.S. public health officials confirmed.

Biden on Monday is said to be re-imposing an entry ban on nearly all non-U.S. travelers who have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and 26 countries in Europe that allow travel across open borders, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the plans have not yet been made public.

Then-President Donald Trump directed on January 18 those restrictions on Brazil and Europe be lifted effective Tuesday but Biden’s proclamation will rescind that decision.

Biden, who took office on Wednesday, is taking an aggressive approach to combating the spread of the virus in travel after Trump rejected mandates sought by U.S. health agencies.

Some health officials are concerned that current vaccines may not be effective against the South Africa variant, which also raises the prospect of re-infection.

The South African variant, also known as the 501Y.V2 variant, is 50% more infectious and has been detected in at least 20 countries. CDC officials said they would be open to adding additional countries to the list if needed.

The South African variant has not yet been found in the United States but at least 20 U.S. states have detected a UK variant known as B.1.1.7. Current vaccines appear effective against the UK mutations.

President Biden, only last week lifted a travel ban on Nigeria slammed by immediate past president, Donald Trump.

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