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Vice President Kamala Harris said on Saturday that she was briefed on the… COVID-19 ommicron variant and insisted that the Biden administration did what was “necessary” in implementing travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries to prevent its spread, but made no mention of additional travel restrictions.
Harris’s comments came while visiting a Christmas market in downtown DC to celebrate Small Business Saturday.
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“I’ve been briefed,” Harris told reporters. “As the president has said, we are going to take all precautions and that is why we have taken the measures that we have.”
Harris said she “cannot stress enough” how important it is for Americans to get their booster shots or their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “I will say what I say every time because it remains true. They are safe, the vaccines are free and they will save your life.”
Asked about any additional travel restrictions, Harris thought for a moment and said, “We’ll take it one step at a time, but as of now, we’ve done what we think is necessary.”
Harris was joined by second Mr. Doug Emhoff on her visit to the Christmas market. The two purchased an assortment of items, including candles from Smell of Love Candles, a “I speak“calendar, spices, maps of Terratorie and treats from The Capital Candy Jar.
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On Friday, Biden restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries from Monday amid concerns over the “heavily mutated” variant omicron, which has been identified in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.
The omicron variant has a large number of mutations, according to World Health Organization (WHO) officials, “some of which are of concern.”
In addition to the US, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Israel have: stopped air travel to southern Africa in response to the new variant.