US President Joe Biden made a statement to journalists after the briefing he received from the Coronavirus Task Force on the Omicron variant of the new type of coronavirus (Covid-19).
Stating that the World Health Organization (WHO) took action shortly after announcing the existence of the Omicron variant and imposed a travel restriction on South African countries, Biden warned, “These travel restrictions may slow the spread of Omicron, but do not prevent it.”
Biden called on the public to get and complete their Covid-19 vaccines as soon as possible, saying: “Sooner or later, we will encounter cases of the Omicron variant in the US. The Omicron variant is a cause for concern but not a cause for panic. We have the best vaccines in the world, we have the best drugs and the best scientists. We will fight this variant with science, not chaos and confusion.“
Biden does not envisage a quarantine or travel ban to Europe.
Emphasizing that they learn something new about the virus every day and follow the developments closely, Biden stated that the most effective way to fight against Covid-19 is still to wear a mask and get vaccinated.
When asked by a journalist whether a new quarantine option was completely off the table, Biden replied, “Yes, it is off the table for now. If people put on their masks and get their vaccinations, there is no need for quarantine.“
Another journalist asked, “Will you impose travel restrictions on the UK, European Union members, and other countries where the Omicron variant has been detected?” Biden answered the question, “We do not foresee such a thing at the moment. We will see what time will show.“
The White House defended the restriction imposed on Africa because of Omicron.
On the other hand, White House Spokesperson Jen Psaki made statements about the measures taken due to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 at the press conference.
Responding to the criticism of the travel restrictions applied to South Africa and 7 countries in the region, Psaki said, “Our aim here is not to punish anyone, but to protect the American people. This measure will not prevent the virus, but will delay its entry into our country. During this delay, we will have more time to take the necessary precautions with our healthcare teams.“
Psaki also confirmed the claims that South Africa did not need vaccines in the past and that the US refused vaccines.