President Joe Biden on Monday told Americans the newly-identified Covid variant Omicron “is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic" in a televised address from the White House.
“We have more tools today to fight the variant than we’ve ever had before," he said, adding his chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci expected current vaccines would remain protective, with boosters enhancing protection.
Biden also said he “doesn’t anticipate" further travel restrictions in light of the new Covid variant Omicron, first reported by South Africa. He further said that on Thursday he will outline a “detailed strategy" on fighting Covid this winter, noting that shutdowns and lockdowns will not be included.
“The degree of the spread impacts on whether or not there’s a need for any travel restrictions. But I don’t anticipate that at this point," he said.
The US began barring entry to most travellers from eight southern African countries starting this week, a move criticized by many health experts because it may discourage transparency and because the variant is likely already very widespread.