The news comes as President Joe Biden reinstates travel bans for coronaviruses for most non-U.S. Citizens of several countries.
The United States has reported its first known case of a variant COVID-19 first detected in Brazil.
The Minnesota Department of Health confirmed the case on Monday, the same day as President Joe Biden expanded Coronavirus restrictions prohibiting most non-U.S. citizens who recently traveled to Brazil, South Africa and several European countries from entering the United States.
The variant of the novel coronavirus known as P1 was detected in a specimen from a Minnesota resident who recently traveled to Brazil, the state’s health department said in a statement.
The agency said it was the first documented instance of the P1 variant in the United States.
While the so-called “Brazilian variant” is believed to be more transmissible than the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is not known whether the disease it causes is more serious.
Biden has vowed to launch a bitter fight against COVID-19 in the United States, which has recorded the most coronavirus-related cases and deaths globally.
“With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, now is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a press briefing earlier today on the new travel restrictions.
The United States has registered more than 25 million infections – about a quarter of global cases – as well as more than 420,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The new head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned over the weekend that coronavirus-related deaths in the United States could exceed 500,000 next month.
The CDC and the US State Department also ad that starting Tuesday, all travelers arriving in the United States will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test before boarding their flights. This includes US citizens and foreign nationals.
“The Department and the CDC continue to urge US citizens to reconsider their overseas travel and postpone all non-essential travel,” they said in a statement Monday.