Health

CDC orders all airlines to turn over names of passengers who have been in 8 African countries

CDC orders all US airlines to turn over names of passengers who’ve been in eight African countries facing travel restrictions due to the Omicron variant

  • The CDC is ordering U.S. airlines to turn over the names of passengers who entered the U.S. from eight African countries facing travel restrictions 
  • The countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe 


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is ordering all airlines to turn over the names of passengers who arrived in the country from eight flights that are facing travel restrictions 

The directive, first reported on Wednesday by Reuters, has been issued in an effort to quickly identify and stop the spread of the Omicron variant.

The countries include Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.  

On November 8, the CDC required all airlines to collect contact tracing information from international travelers, but had not required those details to be turned over.

According to the directive, which took effect on Tuesday evening, airlines have 24 hours to turn over the information.

The CDC is ordering U.S. airlines to turn over the names of passengers who entered the U.S. from eight African countries facing travel restrictions. Pictured: CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia

The Omicron variant was first identified by South African researchers last week and is believed to have originated in Botswana.

It has 50 mutations, more than 30 of which are on the spike protein, used by the coronavirus to enter and infect cells.

By comparison, the Delta variant – still the predominant variant in the U.S. – has two mutations on the spike protein. 

Early evidence suggests it is more transmissible than previous variants but it is unclear if it causes more severe illness or death.

Doctors in South Africa have reported anecdotally that patients infected with  Omicron appear to have mild symptoms, such as a dry cough, fever and night sweats, but say they don’t want to draw conclusions just yet. 

This is a breaking news story and will be updated. 

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