At the end of this year the US is set to lift travel restrictions on eight Southern African countries imposed over the coronavirus’ omicron variant, administration sources said Friday.

Citing unnamed senior White House sources, US media outlets said President Joe Biden decided that the travel restrictions in effect since Nov. 29 will be lifted as of Dec. 31.

Biden made the decision on the recommendation of specialists from the Center for Disease Control, who gave assurances of the effectiveness of existing COVID-19 vaccines on the new strain.

Accordingly, the US travel restrictions on the countries of Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe will expire at year’s-end.

Though omicron was first detected in South Africa, it has now spread to most if not all countries worldwide, and has displaced the delta variant as the dominant strain in many.

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