Panama blocks travelers from eight African countries due to Omicron variant

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Passengers stand in line at the Tocumen International Airport during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Panama City, Panama October 16, 2020. REUTERS/Erick Marciscano/file photo

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PANAMA CITY, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Panama on Thursday said it would temporarily ban the entry of travelers from eight African countries due to concerns over the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The restriction applies to travelers who have been to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe or Malawi within a two-week period, Panama's government said in a statement.

Panamanians and residents of the country who are vaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in the country, while those who are not inoculated must place themselves in "preventative quarantine," the government said.

Many other countries around the world have imposed travel curbs since South Africa announced last week it had detected the new coronavirus variant.

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Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Sandra Maler

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