'Emergence of Omicron was inevitable', says South Africa President as COVID cases increase five-fold
Cyril Ramaphosa said the number of daily infections has increased five-fold in the past week, with nearly a quarter of all COVID-19 tests now returning positive.
Prof Salim Abdool-Kariman projected a dramatic rise in infections in the coming days but given the variant already surfaced in other countries, a travel ban will really be of little help.
Asked how long travel restrictions that took effect Monday on South Africa and seven other southern African countries would remain in place, Biden said it "kind of depends."
Pakistan bans travel from 6 African countries, Hong Kong amid concern over new Covid variant Omicron
However, Pakistani passengers travelling from these countries "on extreme emergency" will only be allowed after obtaining exemptions, the NCOC said.
"We must also be cautious about citizens travelling from other countries. We will check if they have received the vaccine and the RT-PCR test," Minister of Health and Family Welfare Zahid said.
Omicron was first reported to the WHO from South Africa on November 24, and has also been identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong and Israel.
EU likely to impose travel ban on African countries as WHO classifies new COVID variant as 'highly transmissible'
Many EU member states had already gone ahead with flight suspensions from some or all of the seven African countries. Others were expected to follow suit over coming days.