Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Omicron spurs new US regulations: inbound international travelers must test 24-hours before travel regardless of vaccination status


A new Coronavirus variant, Omicron, detected in South Africa, has been making the headlines forcing countries in Europe and other parts of the world to take further measures. Expected to take effect early next week, the US will require all inbound international travelers to be tested for COVID-19 within 24-hours of departure, regardless of the person’s nationality or vaccination status.

On Wednesday, December 1st, a Belize Cabinet’s statement indicated that the government is also working on new regulations that will apply to travelers from countries where this new variant has been detected. The new rules, to be revealed this week, will apply to those entering Belize via the Philip Goldson International Airport, the land borders, and seaports of entry. According to the report, many countries from the European Union, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the USA have banned travel to and from South Africa, including neighboring nations.

Some restrictions in other countries, such as the UK, require travelers to take a PCR test upon arrival and quarantine for approximately ten days at an approved hotel by the government. In the USA, the first case was detected on December 1st from a person in California who had traveled to South Africa.

Omicron variant

Scientists are still trying to learn more about this new variant first detected in the southern African region in November. Now reported in at least two dozen countries, experts say they need about two more weeks to have more definitive information regarding this new strain.

Although the World Health Organization called Omicron a variant of concern, the first case reported in South Africa showed mild symptoms in a fully vaccinated patient. In the meantime, people are urged not to panic, follow the COVID-19 health protocols, and get vaccinated.


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