The travel ban barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who had recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi. /CFP Image
The United States will lift travel restriction imposed against eight southern African countries on Dec. 31, the White House announced on Friday.
The restrictions were put in place last month following the emergence of the new Omicron variant in the regions, first reported to the World Health Organization by South Africa.
The ban barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who had recently been in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
"This decision was recommended by CDC," White House spokesman Kevin Munoz wrote on Twitter.
"The restrictions gave us time to understand Omicron and we know our existing vaccines work against Omicron, esp boosted."
The ban was widely condemned by world leaders, some terming it baseless.
"The prohibition of travel is not informed by science, nor will it be effective in preventing the spread of this variant," South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Nov 28.
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