Cape Town – The United States has joined other countries who have put South Africa on their red lists.
This was after US President Joe Biden ordered a travel ban to South Africa and other neighbouring countries.
“The WHO has identified a new Covid variant which is spreading through Southern Africa. As a precautionary measure until we have more information, I am ordering air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries,” said Biden.
The US has now joined the UK, which was first to issue the travel ban from South Africa, and other countries from different parts of the world.
The government is holding an urgent meeting on Saturday to discuss the impact of the new variant.
Scientists have insisted that their discovery of the variant, Omicron, should not be used as a punishment for South Africa.
They said they were doing their job.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is meeting with his Cabinet and other key structures ahead of the expected announcement.
Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said they would have to talk to countries who have imposed the travel ban on South Africa.
He said they cannot be punished for announcing the new variant.
All nations would need to work together to fight Covid-19.
The virus has been mutating since it hit the world almost two years ago.
The country is also holding out for a fourth wave in the next few weeks.
Phaahla said new infections have been on the rise in the last two weeks.
The number of infections have gone from about 200 a day to just under 3 000 a day.