Iran on Saturday imposed a ban on travel from seven African countries after the emergence of a new coronavirus variant.
Travel bans for South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini took effect immediately, said the head of Iran's Center for Disease Control, Mohammad Mehdi Gouya.
Moreover, noting that no passengers from these countries will be accepted to Iran, he stated that Iranians who are arriving from the seven African countries must have two negative PCR tests, otherwise they will be kept in quarantine for up to 14 days at the border gates.
The new heavily mutated variant that might be able to evade vaccines was first identified on Nov. 11 in Botswana.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Friday that the new variant is a "variant of concern," and named it Omicron.
The declaration came after the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution, an independent group of experts, met to assess the variant that was initially named B.1.1.529.