UK professor impacted by Omicron travel restrictions


LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — First detected in the United States Wednesday, Omicron has rapidly become the dominant variant of the coronavirus in South Africa, a country that has held a special place in Dr. Zach Porterfield’s heart.

An assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Porterfield told LEX 18 he has lived in South Africa on and off over the last 21 years. He has studied as an HIV virologist in the country, where he said doctors and scientists have been doing exceptional work researching COVID-19.

“We probably found [Omicron] in South Africa because there was a concerted effort to look,” Dr. Porterfield said. “We have the expertise and technology to do that [genetic] sequencing.”

Dr. Porterfield said he was planning to travel to South Africa next week, before learning about new travel restrictions imposed on South Africa and seven other African countries.

“I still have an apartment in Durban and projects and laboratory collaborations in South Africa that I was planning to return and try and set right,” he said.

Although his plans may have been upended, Dr. Porterfield said he understands why President Joe Biden’s administration implemented the latest travel bans.

“I think the right thing to do is take a moment to pause and think through what does this mean,” he said.

President Biden explained earlier this week that while travel restrictions will not prevent the arrival of the variant, they could buy the administration time to prepare.

Health experts around the world, including representatives from the World Health Organization, have criticized the restrictions, suggesting they are ineffective and punitive.

“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of Omicron,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO. “And they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”





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Fauci dodges question on illegal immigrants following same travel restrictions as Americans: ‘Different issue’


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White House Coronavirus Response Team Member Dr. Anthony Fauci dodged a question from Fox News Reporter Peter Doocy regarding illegal immigrants being screened for the omicron coronavirus variant at the border.

“You advised the president about the possibility of new testing requirements for people coming into this country, does that include everybody?” Doocy asked Fauci during a press conference on Wednesday as the White House is reportedly set to issue travel restrictions for American citizens in response to the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

President Biden speaks about the COVID-19 variant named omicron, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Washington. as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases listens. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden speaks about the COVID-19 variant named omicron, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Washington. as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases listens. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

OMICRON: WHAT ARE THE VARIANT’S SYMPTOMS?

“The answer is yes,” Fauci said, prompting Doocy to ask if migrants crossing the southern border were included. 

“That’s a different issue,” Fauci claimed.

HUNDREDS OF NYC CORRECTION OFFICERS TO BE SUSPENDED FOR FAILING TO MEET COVID-19 VACCINATION DEADLINE

Fauci explained that there is testing at the border “under certain circumstances” and cited the fact “we still have Title 42” which put into place by former President Donald Trump to mitigate the spread of coronavirus at the border.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden‘s enhanced winter COVID-19 strategy that will be announced Thursday will require every traveler entering the country, including returning U.S. citizens, to be tested one day before boarding their flight, according to the CDC. The rule will also apply to vaccinated travelers, who previously were only required to show a negative test no more than three days before their flight.

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But the Biden administration has refused to put similar requirements in place for those who illegally cross the border, claiming in September that such individuals do not intend “to stay here for a lengthy period of time.”

Fauci has faced criticism in recent days after claiming in an interview that he “represents” science.

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 29: Anthony Fauci (R), Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, speaks alongside U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on November 29, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 29: Anthony Fauci (R), Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, speaks alongside U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on November 29, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“They’re really criticizing science because I represent science – that’s dangerous. To me, that’s more dangerous than the slings and the arrows that get thrown at me. I’m not going to be around here forever, but science is going to be here forever. And if you damage science, you are doing something very detrimental to society long after I leave. And that’s what I worry about,” Fauci told CBS’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz responded to the comment by calling Fauci “the most dangerous bureaucrat” in American history.

Fox News’ Michael Lee contributed to this report



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Covid-19 live updates: Omicron prompts U.S. to prepare tighter travel restrictions – The Washington Post


  1. Covid-19 live updates: Omicron prompts U.S. to prepare tighter travel restrictions  The Washington Post
  2. White House considering stricter international travel testing requirements amid omicron variant  NBC News
  3. Biden will lay down new travel restrictions as Omicron threatens  Politico
  4. Biden administration considering requiring stricter coronavirus testing for everyone traveling to US  CNN
  5. CDC orders airlines to share contact information on travelers from 8 African countries  USA TODAY
  6. View Full Coverage on Google News



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AAA gives tips to travelers this holiday season in light new COVID variant, travel restrictions


OhioHealth says we have the tools to stay safe, when it comes to holiday travel. AAA says there are a few things travelers can do.



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Travellers scramble to switch winter holidays as Covid restrictions return | Travel News | Travel









Travellers scramble to switch winter holidays as Covid restrictions return | Travel News | Travel – ToysMatrix


























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U.S. Covid travel restrictions in a stasis — for now


Background: As of Monday, the Biden administration banned travel from South Africa, which first reported the new variant, as well as from nearby Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi and Mozambique. But there have been indications that the variant may have originated in Europe, raising questions about whether the U.S. might again shut down flights from Europe, mere weeks after they had been lifted.

Even as the world tries to grapple with the new threat, Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said the U.S.’ mitigation measures for travel offer robust protections in addition to the standard recommendations and practices — wearing masks, getting vaccinated and other tools — for the American public.

Walensky on Tuesday touted pre-departure travel actions, such as testing before boarding a flight. Coupled with “international travel policies that have helped to keep Americans safe as well as our genomic surveillance system,” these measures will aid in detecting Omicron “should and when it occur” stateside, she said.

Separately, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the same applies to the Canadian border, which reopened to fully vaccinated foreign travelers earlier this month.

“The president’s decisions related to travel restrictions will be based on the recommendations of his health and medical team, they have not advised [closing the border] to this point,” she said. “But we will continue to assess what steps we need to take.”

Advice from the WHO: Meanwhile, the World Health Organization, which designated Omicron a “variant of concern” on Nov. 26, recommended foreign travelers age 60 and above stay home if they’re unvaccinated or are at increased risk because of other health conditions.

“Persons who have not been fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and are at increased risk of developing severe disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities that present increased risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes) should be advised to postpone travel to areas with community transmission,” the organization said.

Julian Sorapuru contributed to this report.



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More than 30 countries institute omicron-related travel restrictions


Welcome to The Data Point, a series from the NBC News Data Graphics team that explains a slice of the latest news through charts and visuals.

The southern tip of Africa is feeling the brunt of the Covid omicron travel bans.

As of Tuesday, 33 countries — including the United States — have issued new travel bans or restrictions in the wake of the new variant, news about which was revealed just four days ago. Travel to or from South Africa, the country whose scientists first disclosed the new variant, is affected in each of the restrictions. Travel to or from Botswana, which also has confirmed cases of the variant, is restricted by 31 countries.



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Omicron Travel Restrictions | Eyewitness News


EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Some COVID travel bans are going back into place as countries try to slow the spread of a new COVID variant until more is known about it.

The new variant is called omicron and is being considered a “variant of concern.” the World Health Organization says it has the potential to pose a “very high global risk.”

“No country, no community and no individual is safe until we are all safe,” said Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with World Health Organization.

Several countries are slamming their doors shut again to try to keep the new variant at bay. At the White House Monday, President Biden defended the travel restrictions barring non-U.S. citizens from eight southern African nations from entering the country.

“It gives us time to take more actions; to move quicker, to make sure people understand you have to get your vaccine,” said President Biden.

Pfizer and Moderna are already preparing to reformulate their vaccines if necessary.

“Given the large number of mutations, it is highly possible that the efficacy of the vaccines, all of them, is going down. But we need to wait for the data to know if this is true, and how much is it going down,” said Stephane Bancel who is the CEO of Moderna.

“I’m very, very, very confident that this drug works for all known mutations, including the omicron one. But we are working on follow-up drugs for the eventual case that maybe a resistance is developed,” said Albert Bourla who is the CEO of Pfizer.

But omicron has many people here in northeastern and central Pennsylvania concerned as the holidays and winter are right around the corner.

“I am a big holiday guy. It might not affect it, but it might. You gotta play it by ear,” said West Scranton resident Scott Fassett.

“I’m not worried about it just yet because I haven’t heard about it being anywhere near us and I don’t travel outside to go anywhere. But, I guess if it were to come here closer to home, I would be more worried about it,” said Norma Perez who lives in Scranton.

Eyewitness News spoke to an infectious disease expert at Geisinger who says it’s a simple reminder that we’re still in the midst of the pandemic.

“The same precautions we have been talking about for many many months now or over a year still apply to this holiday season in regard to vaccination, masking, social distancing and hand hygiene,” said Alison Brodginski who is the Northeast Director of Infectious Diseases.

She says omicron appears to spread easier than previous variants, but fortunately, the symptoms have been mild in the cases reported thus far.

President Biden says he will lay out a strategy on Thursday that will fight COVID-19 this winter with vaccinations and testing.



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Covid live updates today: Omicron variant, symptoms, vaccines efficacy, restrictions…


Headlines:

– World Health Organization (WHO) says more data needed to confirm ‘higher risk’ Omicron

– Biden administration has announced a travel ban from eight African countries

– Most public health experts believe Omicron is already circulating in the United States

– Doctor who identified Omicron plays down “hype” over variant

– World in “race against time” against Omicron variant – EU Commission president

– SA expert says current vaccines “likely effective” against Omicron

– Cases in Scotland believed to be “circulating within community” as Omicron spreads to four continents

Omicron restrictions in the US

Travel banned from the following countries:

– Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe

Related news articles:



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Latest news updates: Hong Kong tightens travel restrictions to prevent Omicron spread – Financial Times



Latest news updates: Hong Kong tightens travel restrictions to prevent Omicron spread  Financial Times



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