US President, Joe Biden has called the Omicron Covid variant a “cause for concern, not a cause for panic” saying the US doesn’t need to have lockdowns over it.
Two days after the variant was detected in North America, Biden said he saw no need for a lockdown “for now”, adding, “if people are vaccinated and wear their masks”.
Cases have been found in Canada, and the US has imposed travel bans on eight African countries including South Africa.
Despite the production of vaccines and Biden’s election vow to “shut down” the virus, more Americans died this year from Covid than last year when Donald Trump was president.
At the White House on Monday, November 29, the president called it “almost inevitable” that the Omicron strain, will be found in the US “at some point”.
He added that vaccine companies are creating “contingency plans” for new vaccines “if needed”.
Canada, the US neighbour to the north, said on Sunday that the Omicron strain had been discovered in two patients who had recently travelled to Nigeria.
Also, the World Health Organization called Omicron a “variant of concern”, but says it is still not clear whether it is associated with more transmission or more risk of evading vaccines.
Following Biden’s ban of travel from Southern Africa, his critics attacked him saying he accused former President Donald Trump of “hysterical xenophobia” after he limited travel from China in January 2020 as the coronavirus spread in the US.