A Fox News host called President Joe Biden a ‘fraud’ over the new travel ban after the Democrat had called Donald Trump‘s similar COVID restrictions ‘racist’ – as others slammed Biden for waiting until Monday to halt flights from Omicron-hit southern African countries.
Fox News‘ Unfiltered host Dan Bongino was on a news segment for the network Saturday morning and when asked about the hypocrisy of Biden’s ‘African Ban’ replied.
‘Joe Biden’s a fraud. Like okay great, we already knew that. That’s not breaking news and I didn’t get up on a Saturday morning to tell you Biden’s a fraud because we already knew that,’ Bongino said.
Earlier in the da,y the White House announced that the president had been fully briefed on he new super mutant variant Omicron as the president’s top health expert said he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if the strain was already in the US.
On Friday, after a 30-minute discussion with Dr Anthony Fauci, the president decided to ban travel from eight African countries – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi – as of Monday.
Fox News host Dan Bongino (left) ripped into the president’s travel ban while on the network’s morning segment after Joe Biden called Donald Trump’s similar restrictions ‘racist’. He called Biden a ‘fraud’ and pleaded with the Democrat Party: ‘Can everybody stop with the fear porn, please?’
President Joe Biden on Friday banned travel from eight African countries – shaded red in the map. South Africa is the only one to have direct flights to the United States, with 13 a week. Now citizens of the eight countries, or anyone who has been there recently, are unable to enter the US
Cases of Omicron have already been picked up in South Africa, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium. It is not yet known whether the variant arrived in the Netherlands yesterday but Dutch authorities are sequencing passengers’ tests. There are also suspected individual cases being sequenced in Germany, the Czech Republic and Australia
However, US citizens and green card holders from other regions of Africa will still be allowed to travel to the US.
‘Here’s the deeper layer to this,’ Bongino continued.
‘The Democrat Party is the biggest grift in the history of humankind. There has never been a bigger donor scam, collectively, in the history of humanity than the Democrat Party.
‘They believe absolutely nothing they say,’ he added, recalling when Democrats ‘and their media allies lost their collective minds when Trump at the early stages of this pandemic – when everybody thought zero Covid cases may be possible – instituted a travel ban’.
‘Trump did a travel ban from some of these same countries in the region, right? When there was a lot of unknowns and they thought it could’ve worked.
‘Now a year-and-a-half later we already know these travel bans do nothing. They’ve done nothing to stop the Delta, they’ve done nothing to stop any other variant out there… Joe Biden then does it anyway after calling Donald Trump’s travel ban racist.’
Bongino was referring to the early months of 2020 when Trump restricted travel from seven countries, including China, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan and Tanzania.
The Fox host then ripped Biden for ‘replicating what he himself called a racist policy’.
Although he announced his own travel bans earlier this week, Biden tweeted a different tune when he was running for the Democratic nomination for president in February 2020.
He hammered Trump for travel bans for those coming from China and Europe when the virus first began to spread.
‘We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus,’ Biden tweeted. ‘We need to lead the way with science – not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.’
A month later Biden insisted in another tweet: ‘Banning all travel from Europe – or any other part of the world – will not stop it.’
Users on Twitter were quick to call out the president, too, citing ‘hypocrisy’ and calling him a racist.
One reply even suggested that Biden’s ‘African’ ban was implemented to intentionally ‘make it harder for black and brown people to immigrate to the United States’.
Another user said that Biden’s decision to enact the travel ban on Monday instead of immediately ‘will probably increase Omicron spread into the US as more people rush to fly back’.
Long queues formed at the New Jersey airport as Biden’s impending travel ban will forbid travel from regions in South Africa, which include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi
Other passengers from flight UA187 – one of the last flights before Biden’s travel ban comes into effect – deplaned at Newark International Airport Saturday morning
Benjamin Field hugged his father upon arriving at Newark International Airport, New Jersey from OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa
Bradley Field (left) and Benjamin Field (right) arrived from Johannesburg, South Africa this morning on United Airlines flight 187
Bongino went on to address Democrats and pleaded: ‘Can everybody stop with the fear porn, please?’
He cited South African ministers, who claimed have said that Covid cases are ‘very mild’ and he suggested that ‘science (and) reason’ prove there’s no need to panic.
‘Can everybody calm the hell down please?’ he repeated.
‘They have us intentionally walking into our own ideological prisons believing that what’s on the outside is so scary that the government’s going to save us inside the prison,’ Bongino added of the liberal presidential administration.
Meanwhile, the UK and Israel halted travel on Thursday and the EU followed suit.
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has implemented new Covid restrictions in response to the ‘monstrous’ new Omicron variant after placing seven countries in southern Africa on a red list – from which all travelers must go into hotel quarantine.
All passengers arriving to the UK must take a PCR test on day two after landing and isolate at home until they get the result and all contacts of someone infected with Omicron variant must isolate for 10 days.
People were seen waiting in front of an appointment desk for quarantine and Covid tests inside Schiphol Airport, after Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on flights from South Africa tested positive for the virus
Passengers waited on their Covid test results at Schiphol Airport, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands last night
Passengers from KLM flight KL598 from Cape Town, South Africa wait to be screened at Amsterdam Airport, the Netherlands, yesterday
Flanked by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance during a press conference on Saturday, the Prime Minister also announced that the rules on face masks in public spaces will be tightened.
In an address to the nation, Mr Johnson warned that Omicron ‘diverges quite significantly from other configurations of the virus’ and warned it will ‘reduce the protections of our vaccines over time’.
Four more countries – Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Angola – will also be added to the no-fly list on Sunday. All flights from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia were banned yesterday amid growing international panic about the ‘variant of concern,’ which scientists believe is more transmissible and has an increased risk of reinfection.
Earlier today, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that two cases of the strain were detected in Nottingham and Brentwood in Essex and confirmed that both were linked to travel to southern Africa.
The infected individuals and all members of their households have been told to self-isolate after the UK Health Security Agency confirmed the sequencing.
Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference after cases of the new variant were confirmed in the United Kingdom
Britain has sequenced two cases of the Omicron variant in Nottingham and Chelmsford, Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed this afternoon
Scientists are racing to tweak existing vaccines against the new Covid variant spreading rapidly across the planet
Near Amsterdam, around 600 passengers arrived on two planes in Schipol Airport from Johannesburg – the epicenter for the new strain that experts fear is 40 percent more vaccine evasive than Delta – hours after travel bans were put in place.
The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early on Friday. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said that passengers already en route to the Netherlands would have to undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.
Europe’s first case of the variant was spotted in Belgium on Friday – despite the unvaccinated woman who caught it having travelled to Turkey and Egypt, not South Africa where the strain emerged.
Germany and the Czech Republic both confirmed suspected cases today. Germany’s initial sequencing suggested a traveler from South Africa was carrying the virus with several mutations shared by Omicron. Officials are awaiting full sequencing later today.
And Australian authorities – who also banned travel to nine countries in the region – fear the variant may have already entered the country.
South African experts yesterday also attempted to calm the wave of panic over the variant, describing it as a ‘storm in a tea cup’.
The country recorded 2,828 new Covid cases yesterday – more than double the 1,374 recorded last Thursday. But infection levels have yet to skyrocket in the country and no hospitalizations with the new variant have occurred so far.
However, Botswana does have four confirmed Omicron cases and South Africa has 77 – with the real figure likely in the hundreds – and Hong Kong has two, meaning 83 cases of the variant are confirmed so far.
It has also been found in Israel, Hong Kong and Belgium, and is worrying scientists because it appears to be able to easily reinfect those who have already been infected, or who have had the vaccine.
South Africa recorded 2,828 new Covid cases yesterday, more than double the 1,374 recorded last Thursday, but infection levels have yet to skyrocket and no hospitalizations with the new variant have occurred so far. Graph shows: The seven-day average for cases in the country
What do we know about the Omicron variant?
Scientists have said they are concerned about the B.1.1.529 variant, named by the World Health Organisation as Omicron, as it has around 30 different mutations – double the amount present in the Delta variant. The mutations contain features seen in all of the other variants but also traits that have not been seen before.
UK scientists first became aware of the new strain on November 23 after samples were uploaded on to a coronavirus variant tracking website from South Africa, Hong Kong and then Botswana.
On Friday, it was confirmed that cases had been identified in Israel and Belgium but currently there are no known cases in the UK.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), told Good Morning Britain on Friday that sequencing is being carried out around the UK to determine if any cases have already been imported.
Work is also under way to see whether the new variant may be causing new infection in people who have already had coronavirus or a vaccine, or whether waning immunity may be playing a role.
Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford, has said the new variant will ‘almost certainly’ make vaccines less effective, though they would still offer protection.
Pfizer/BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine against Covid-19, is already studying the new variant’s ability to evade vaccines.
Fauci concluded on the Today Show by saying that the new strain is another reason ‘it is absolutely essential that unvaccinated people get vaccinated and that vaccinated people get boosters’.
As of Friday at 5am EST, the CDC website’s travel advice page for South Africa had the country listed as ‘Level 4: Very High Level of Covid-19,’ with flights to the US permitted from the African country since November 8.
The levels range from Level unknown, Level 1: Low, Level 2: Moderate, Level 3: High and Level 4: Very High.
The CDC had the country listed as Level 1 on Monday.
The page also asks anyone traveling to and from South Africa to be fully vaccinated, or for those who are not to be tested for Covid. It also recommends travelers follow measures that are in-place in South Africa, including wearing a mask and social distancing.
The US Embassy issued a Covid-19 update on their website Saturday and alerted that the US Department of State announced that travel to South Africa had also advanced to ‘Level 4 – Do Not Travel – due to the newly identified Covid-19 Omicron variant’.
The statement added: ‘US citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) who are eligible to travel but are not fully vaccinated will need to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test one (1) day before their flight. US citizens and LPRs who are fully vaccinated will need to present airlines with proof of vaccination and of a negative Covid-19 test three (3) days before their flight.’
South Africa’s infection rate spiked 93 percent in a day yesterday amid fears the strain is driving the surge. Local scientists say it has likely spread to all the country’s nine provinces, but there is yet to be a surge in hospitalizations in the virus epicenter Johannesburg.
Travelers from South Africa have been allowed entry into the US since November 8, when restrictions barring entry to people from more than 30 countries – implemented at the start of the pandemic – were partially lifted.
Newer rules, which came 19 months after the travel ban was implemented, require international visitors to show both proof of vaccination and a negative Covid test.