Former FDA Commissioner: US Travel Restrictions Over New COVID Strain ‘Counterproductive’

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb says the new U.S. restrictions on travel from eight southern African countries over concerns about a new COVID-19 variant found in South Africa are “counterproductive in [the] short and long run” and hurt “current containment efforts, discouraging future sharing.”

Gottlieb further added that there’s “too much we don’t know to impose economically, socially ruinous policies on SA and other nations. Ready, fire, aim is not prudent public health policy. Vaccine, testing requirements for incoming travelers could be prudent. Outright travel bans can hurt more than help.”

The U.S. on Friday announced the restrictions “as a precautionary measure” after the World Health Organization named Omicron, B.1.1.529 as a variant of concern “because it has some concerning properties,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said in a video published on Twitter.

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