San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said Monday local health officials are closely monitoring the region for the omicron variant of the coronavirus but agreed with President Joe Biden who that same day said the variant is a cause for concern, not panic.
"We’re monitoring it very closely, obviously we have made tremendous progress in pushing back on the delta variant, any new variant is going to capture a lot of our attention and so we’re watching this closely," Mayor Gloria said.
President Biden announced travel restrictions for South Africa and many surrounding countries. Mayor Gloria says don't expect to see any restrictions on border travel here any time soon. The border recently reopened for non-essential travel after restrictions for more than 18 months.
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"As a border city, any kind of restrictions on travel capture my attention. We have no indication at this time that this will impact the recently reopened ports of entry in San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, but again, this is the reason why we watch this closely," Mayor Gloria said.
While there isn't a lot of information on the Omicron variant yet, medical professionals say the current vaccines appear to be pretty effective in combatting severe symptoms of the variant. Political leaders from President Biden to Mayor Gloria are encouraging people who haven't gotten vaccinated to do so to minimize the risk this variant could pose.