The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reportedly issued a directive under which all airlines will be required to submit details of passengers that recently visited any of the eight southern African countries.
Previously, CDC had issued an order which directed all airlines to collect information for contact tracing from international air passengers, with no requirement of handing over the names of those passengers.
With the new directive, airlines will need to provide all passenger information, even their seat number, within 24 hours of arrival in the U.S., from any one of the eight countries that are subject to travel restrictions issued by the Biden administration.
The White House had just announced a travel ban from South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, and Eswatini, in an attempt to slow down the spread of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The restrictions did not apply to any US citizen or permanent resident that was returning from those countries.
World health leaders and officials, however, have criticized the travel ban imposed on South African countries as being unnecessary and unfair.
WHO also condemned countries for putting up travel restrictions, with Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, stating that the travel bans targeting Africa are attacking global solidarity and that countries need to work together for solutions to tackle the virus.
In a Facebook post, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera, called the ban imposed on southern Africa by the US, EU, and the UK as Afrophobia.
The WHO has termed the Omicron variant as a ‘variant of concern’ and was first identified in South Africa and Botswana.
Since then, cases of the new variant have been recorded in other countries as well, including those in Asia, Europe as well as North America, but no travel restrictions for Western countries have been yet imposed by the US.