President Joe Biden plans to announces new restrictions on travel in the wake of the first case of the ‘omicron’ variant of covid-19 being discovered in the US.
As The Hill reports:
The steps come as the first known U.S. case of the omicron variant was detected in California on Wednesday in a person who had returned more than a week ago from South Africa, where the variant was first detected.
Biden is expected to announce Thursday that his administration, which has already imposed a ban on international travelers from eight southern African nations, will further tighten testing requirements on all other international travelers entering the country.
The new testing policy, which goes into effect early next week, will require international air travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of their flight, regardless of vaccination status or nationality.
That shortens the time from the current rule, which requires fully vaccinated travelers to present a negative test within three days of their flight. International travelers are already required to be fully vaccinated, but that vaccination policy doesn’t apply to American citizens.
The new rules come as Biden’s popularity continues to wane and he faces the winter season with no end in sight to the pandemic he promised to finally end.