The US will lift Covid-related travel restrictions on eight African countries on December 31, the White House announced.
"On December 31, (President Joe Biden) will lift the temporary travel restrictions on Southern Africa countries," and the decision was based on the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), White House Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz said on Twitter on Friday.
Announced on November 29, the travel ban barred non-American citizens from entering the US if they had travelled to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique or Malawi within 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival.
Munoz said the restrictions "gave us time to understand" the highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19, which first emerged in southern Africa and soon spread around the world, now making up over 70 per cent of new cases in the US, as per CDC data.
Getting fully vaccinated and boosted is still an effective way to fight against Omicron, he said.