Fauci Knocks 'Knee-Jerk' Travel Bans in Response to Omicron Variant


Dr. Anthony Fauci is criticizing what he calls “knee-jerk” travel bans imposed in response to the discovery of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

“When we had the emergence of the Omicron variant, there was an almost knee-jerk response on the part of a number of countries including the United States to block travel from the countries in which there was recognizable cases of Omicron,” Fauci said.

He continued, “And I think that that knee-jerk reaction was understandable. It had political and nationalistic aspects to it to protect your country. But you also have to take into consideration your responsibility not only to your country but to the rest of the world. And I think that was a very, very difficult decision.”

“And I think there are fundamental, ethical questions that needed to be asked…about how long do you keep that up. When does the point come when you say, ‘OK, we made the point, now we’ve gotta pull back?’” Fauci added.

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In November, the Omicron variant was discovered, and at least 70 countries imposed travel restrictions in response to the news.

In a statement, President Joe Biden announced he would impose travel restrictions “as a precautionary measure until we have more information.”

“These new restrictions will take effect on November 29. As we move forward, we will continue to be guided by what the science and my medical team advises,” he said.

Should the travel restrictions be lifted?

The ban applied to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.

On Sunday, Fauci told CNN, “We all feel very badly about the hardship that might have put upon not only South Africa, but the other African countries. And for that reason, in real-time, literally, on a daily basis….we’re reevaluating that policy.”

“That ban was done at a time when we were really in the dark. We had no idea what was going on, except it does seem to have been an explosion of cases of Omicron in South Africa,” he added.

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