Hear from passengers of last flight from South Africa into Newark before omicron travel restrictions
A travel ban of eight African countries is in effect amid concerns over the omicron variant.
Experts traced the omicron variant there, but it has been found in other countries already, including the Netherlands, U.K. and Canada.
A full flight out of Johannesburg landed early this morning at Newark Liberty International Airport. Passengers said they're just happy they made it, but now they just plan to take as many precautions as possible when coming back to their families.
"They really assisted us in South Africa,” says Marine Ras, of Philadelphia. “Been at the airport for three days and very exceptional."
MORE: Stop the Spread
Ras had a difficult time entering the U.S. All flights were canceled in her original plans. Emilia Ras is just happy her sister arrived safely.
"We also meant to go to South Africa for Christmas, so this is all very disappointing,” says Emilia Ras.
" I think it's overplayed,” says Eddie Ho, of Toronto. “Everything is still very normal in South Africa, everything still open. I think the South Africans are very upset."
Ho says PCR tests were being offered at its airport. He's having trouble getting back to Canada now, where more cases of the omicron variant were just found. Passengers say strict protocol was followed throughout South Africa and at the airport
"Masks were worn, hand sanitizer was used everywhere,” says Hazel Katz, of Stamford, Connecticut. “You cannot walk into a store without sanitizing your hands first.”
Passengers had to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The next priority is trying to remain as vigilant as possible in the U.S.
“My son is picking me up,” says Katz. “I'm going to sit in the back of the car, we'll keep our masks on. I'm not going to go anywhere until I get tested.”
Health experts say they'll know within the next week or so just how effective current vaccines are against the omicron variant.
Does your child have COVID-19, flu or the common cold? Check the symptoms here as the school year gets underway.