The United States is restricting air travel from South Africa and seven other nearby countries over concerns about a new COVID variant.

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The newly-identified omicron variant was allegedly first detected in South Africa.

The South African doctor who fist identified the new omicron variant of the coronavirus says symptoms are “extremely mild.”


Dr. Angelique Cooetzee [[ coot-ZEE-a ]] told the BBC on Sunday she started seeing patients with “unusual symptoms” about ten days ago.

The first was a 33-year-old man whose symptoms differed slightly from the delta variant. She said she began seeing other patients with similar symptoms, which she described as “extremely mild.”

She stressed that, so far, no patients infected with the omicron strain have been admitted to hospitals in South Africa.

President Biden calls the new air travel restrictions a precautionary measure.

The World Health Organization however, has expressed dismay at the move, calling on countries to follow the science and avoid travel bans that place what it calls “heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”

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