According to reports, the United States is restricting travel for non-citizens from South Africa and seven other countries amidst the news of a novel COVID variant reportedly emerging from the region. Ironically, when the former administration did the same with regard to China, screams of racism were cropping up everywhere regarding the early 2020 decision.

Apparently, there’s a new COVID variant in town, or rather, one in the South African region, that has compelled travel restrictions that will go into effect come November 29th.

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The United States will restrict travel for non-citizens from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi in light of the newly dubbed “Omicron” variant of COVID, that was designated with said name by the World Health Organization on November 26th.

President Joe Biden was reportedly briefed on the aforementioned COVID mutation on the same day it was named as the Omicron variant by Dr. Anthony Fauci, and reportedly Canada, the European Union, and the U.K have announced similar travel restrictions regarding the South African region in light of the news.

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Health officials are vigorously working to understand the new COVID strain to understand the transmissibility and severity of infections with regard to those who’ve received their COVID jabs. A report from CNBC noted that the variant carries “an unusual constellation of mutations and a profile that is different from other variants of concern.”

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It is particularly notable that with the quick enactment of a travel ban in response to this new COVID variant under the current administration, there is hardly a peep of pushback or criticism from the media or officials claiming this is a needless, racist, or xenophobic move.

But that wasn’t the case when former President Trump enacted a near-synonymous travel restriction back on January 31st, 2020, with respect to China and the then-novel coronavirus. A report from Politico published days after the 2020 travel restriction. It was reported that the travel restrictions could result in “stigmatizing people of Asian descent.”

In February 2020, the Boston Globe called the travels restrictions related to China “Trump’s xenophobic travel ban.” And of course, there was the March 2020 tweet from then-candidate Joe Biden where he stated travel bans “will not stop” COVID from spreading.

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It’s rather interesting how the tide and sentiments change when someone else is in the proverbial driver’s seat – considering all that criticism of xenophobia, ineffectiveness, and the sort goes right out the window when someone who isn’t named Trump is doing the same exact thing.

 

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