Biden says he doesn't expect more travel restrictions or lockdowns as Covid omicron variant spreads
- The U.S. on Friday said it would ban visitors from South Africa and seven other southern African nations after the detection of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
- Japan, the U.K. and Israel are among the countries that have also put travel restrictions in place to stem the spread of the strain.
- The variant has already been detected in Canada, the U.K., Hong Kong, Israel and other countries.
President Joe Biden on Monday said he doesn't expect the U.S. to impose additional travel restrictions to stem the spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant, sending some airline stocks higher.
Airline and aerospace stocks fell sharply on Friday after several countries reported cases of the omicron variant and established new travel restrictions. The U.S. on Monday began to temporarily bar visitors from South Africa, where scientists first reported the variant, and from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
The degree of the variant's spread will determine whether more travel restrictions are necessary, Biden said at a news conference on the variant.
"I don't anticipate that at this point," he said. Biden also said he doesn't think lockdowns are necessary.
The new rules come three weeks after the U.S. lifted strict pandemic travel rules that prohibited entry to foreign visitors from the U.K., Brazil, India, South Africa and nearly 30 other nations. Airline executives said bookings surged after the administration set a date to lift the rules, which were first put in place early in the pandemic.
United Airlines and American Airlines were each up more than 1% in afternoon trading, gaining after Biden's remarks. Delta Air Lines was up 0.6%.
Discount carriers that don't have trans-Atlantic or other long-haul international service rose even more, with Spirit and Sun Country each up more than 3%.
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