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The US State Department has issued a level four “do not travel” advisory for South Africa and seven surrounding countries. Amidst the spread of the new Omicron version across the region.

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New warning came after the World Health Organization COVID-19 named the Omicron version the “Worry Edition”. Originally, the Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on 24 November.

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According to the US State Department, Level 4 is the highest advisory level issued for travel advisories and notes that there is a “high potential for life-threatening risk” under this level.

South Africa has recently experienced a huge increase in COVID-19 infections, and the health agency says this coincides with the Omicron version.

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana were all placed under Level 4 of the “do not travel” advisory by the US State Department on Saturday.

A Lufthansa plane lands at Dulles International Airport on March 12, 2020 in Dulles, Virginia. – According to a projection shared with Congress, between 70 and 150 million people in the United States could eventually become infected with the novel coronavirus.

related: Omicron variant: What to know about the new COVID-19 strain

President Biden announced in a statement on Friday that he was restricting travel from South Africa and seven other countries because of the Omicron version.

“This morning I was briefed by my Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Tony Fauci and members of our COVID response team about the Omicron variant that is spreading in southern Africa,” Biden said in a statement. As a precaution until we have more information, I am ordering additional air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will be effective from November 29.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview Saturday morning on NBC’s “Weekend Today” that he would not be surprised if there are already cases of the Omicron variant in the United States.

“You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case. We haven’t detected it yet. But, when you have a virus that’s showing this degree of transmissibility and you already have travel-related cases What they noted is Israel and Belgium and elsewhere — when you have a virus like this, it’s going to go all over the place, almost forever,” Fauci said.

related: Omicron: Why WHO omitted ‘nu’ and ‘xi’ in Greek alphabet when naming latest version

Granthshala News Julia Musto and Peter Aitken contributed to this report.

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