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World Biden promised to 'shut down' COVID, but omicron variant poses new challenge for admin

20:50  27 november  2021
20:50  27 november  2021 Source:   foxnews.com

South Africa tries to calm fears over new Covid variant 'Omicron'

  South Africa tries to calm fears over new Covid variant 'Omicron' Belgium revealed a case of the variant - named 'Omicron' by the WHO overnight - prompting EU chiefs to call for an 'emergency brake' on all travel from southern Africa after it was found in Israel.South African medics moved to calm a wave of panic over a new ultra-infectious and vaccine resistant Covid strain today as its arrival in Europe sparked fears of a new Christmas shutdown.

The new COVID-19 omicron variant is posing new risks for the American people as President Biden and his administration attempt to control the spread of a virus he vowed to "shut down" during the 2020 campaign.

The omicron variant, according to World Health Organization (WHO) officials, has a large number of mutations, "some of which are concerning."

On Friday, Biden restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries over concerns of the "heavily mutated" variant, which has been identified in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

OMICRON COVID-19 VARIANT CASES IDENTIFIED IN UK: LIVE UPDATES

We Know Almost Nothing About the Omicron Variant

  We Know Almost Nothing About the Omicron Variant Here’s everything we do.

Earlier this week, prior to the implementation of the travel ban, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain boastfully touted Biden's handling of the pandemic, telling anyone who "wants to have a debate about COVID" to "bring it on."

Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images © Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images Ron Klain, former White House Ebola response coordinator, speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"Let's be clear: the day we got here, 4000 people a day were dying and one percent of Americans were vaccinated. Today, deaths are down 75 percent, and almost 200 million Americans are fully vax'ed," he said in a tweet. "We still have a LOT of work to do."

PM 'fully supports' action by NSW and VIC with Omicron fears growing

  PM 'fully supports' action by NSW and VIC with Omicron fears growing The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he 'fully supports' the action taken by New South Wales and Victoria amid growing fears over the super-contagious Omicron strain of Covid-19. But Dr Paul Griffin, Director of Infectious Diseases at Mater Health in Brisbane, said it was still too early to judge the risks of Omicron.'I don't think we're back to square one. I mean, I think a lot of us thought this is what this virus is going to keep doing, going to keep evolving and we are going to keep finding new variants,' he told ABC.

"But if anyone wants to have a debate about COVID, bring it on," Klain added.

According to Biden, he is taking advice on how to deal with the omicron variant from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommended the newly established travel restrictions.

Biden, who was extremely critical of Trump's travel restrictions into the United States due to fears over coronavirus, once claimed America "should lead the way with science" and insisted travel bans during a global pandemic are xenophobic.

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"We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus," Biden wrote in a tweet during his presidential campaign last year following Trump imposed travel restrictions from China into the United States in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. "We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency."

TWO confirmed cases of fears Omicron Covid strain are found in Sydney

  TWO confirmed cases of fears Omicron Covid strain are found in Sydney NSW Health announced on Sunday urgent genomic testing had confirmed two overseas travellers have the South African variant of the virus.NSW Health confirmed on Sunday urgent genomic testing found the two travellers who touched down in Sydney on Saturday night have the new strain.

Biden's inability to "shut down" the virus has led to pandemic fatigue, which White House press secretary Jen Psaki attributed to Biden's low approval ratings. Psaki said Americans are "tired of fighting" back against the coronavirus and its "impact on their lives."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House November 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images © Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House November 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fauci said Saturday morning that he would "not be surprised" if the omicron variant had already found its way into the U.S., adding that the strain has a large number of mutations that would suggest it could potentially evade immune protection and that scientists can predict it will be more transmissible.

A number of pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer, said they have plans in place to adapt their vaccines in light of the emergence of omicron.

The White House is continuing to urge Americans to get COVID booster shots  in order to help stem new variants.

Fox News' Peter Aitken and Julia Musto, as well as the Associated Press, contributed to this article.

Omicron joins an alphabet of COVID-19 variants — here’s how it differs to those that came before .
There have been 11 COVID-19 strains named by the WHO, including the newly-identified Omicron. But what happened to the rest of them?At present, it is unclear whether Omicron is more transmissible than Delta, which prompted lockdowns across Australia's east coast earlier this year, or if it will impact vaccine immunity.

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