The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Friday that no cases of the new omicron Covid variant "have been identified in the U.S. to date.”

The new strain of the virus was initially detected in South Africa, which the World Health Organization dubbed “a variant of concern” due to the rapid rise of infections within the country.

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are concerning,” the United Nations agency said. “Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other [variants of concern]. The number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in South Africa.”

Starting Monday, President Joe Biden said Friday that the U.S. will prohibit admission to most travelers from eight countries in Southern Africa. The regulations will apply to Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, and Mozambique.

"We expect Omicron to be identified quickly, if it emerges in the U.S.," CDC said.


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