US President Joe Biden has called on nations meeting at the World Trade Organization next week to agree to waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines in the wake of the discovery of the new Omicron COVID variant in South Africa.
- The US will impose restrictions on travellers from southern Africa
- The restrictions will not apply to returning US citizens or permanent residents
- Mr Biden called on every American to “be responsible and be vaccinated”
“The news about this new variant should make it clearer than ever why this pandemic will not end until we have global vaccinations,” Mr Biden said in a statement.
“This news today reiterates the importance of moving on this [waiving intellectual property protections] quickly.”
Mr Biden confirmed restrictions on travellers from eight countries in southern Africa would be imposed.
All 27 European Union member states and the United Kingdom also temporarily suspended travel to and from southern Africa.