President Biden tells Americans not to panic over Omicron variant

Nov 29, 2021: President Joe Biden told Americans on Monday not to “panic” over the newly identified COVID variant Omicron and said he did not anticipate new lockdowns or travel restrictions for now.

Biden said the variety of virus, which had previously been found in South Africa but was already appearing in several countries, was “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” Biden said.

He emphasized that the United States was in a good position to control the spread of Omicron without resorting to lockdowns or further travel bans, in addition to the sanctions already imposed on eight South African countries.

“We have more tools today to fight the variant than we´ve ever had before,” he said, adding that his chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci expects current vaccines to work against the new variant, with boosters enhancing protection.

“We’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion,” Biden said in nationally televised remarks from the White House, flanked by Fauci and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Biden promised a “detailed strategy” to fight CoVID-19 this winter, but indicated that Americans would not be targeted. “Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more extensive vaccinations, boosters, testing, and more,” he said, adding that he now sees a need to order vaccines or test mandates on domestic air travel.

The United States, Canada and the European Union have imposed strict restrictions on travelers from South Africa and seven other countries in the region. However, Biden also said that he did not expect further travel bans. “The degree of proliferation affects whether or not travel restrictions are needed,” he said.

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