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Blinken Lauds South Africa Over Omicron But Backs Travel Limits

Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised South Africa for the way it handled the emergence of the omicron variant while also defending U.S. travel restrictions, saying the move was a necessary step to protect public health. 

“I really want to applaud and express gratitude to South Africa and its government for its extraordinary transparency and also very important work again in detecting this new variant and making it known to the world,” Blinken said at a news conference in Riga, Latvia, after meeting the country’s foreign minister. “That’s exactly a model of responsibility that South Africans exhibited.”