America's bans on travel from countries including the United Kingdom, India and China 'don't make sense' for blocking the spread of COVID-19 variants, according to a former head of the Food and Drug Administration.
Scott Gottlieb, who served as FDA commissioner from 2017 to 2019 and sits on the board of vaccine maker Pfizer, appeared on CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday morning to share his view on where the US stands in the fight against coronavirus.
Asked about the Biden administration's recent restrictions on travel from India, which is experiencing a deadly second wave due to a variant called B.1.617, Gottlieb said he doesn't see them having much of an impact.
'I'm not sure what we're hoping to accomplish if the goal is to try to prevent introduction of virus into the United States,' he said.
'There's plenty of virus here already if the goal is to try to prevent introduction of that new variant, B.1.617 that's circulating in India, I assure you it's here already.'Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'These travel restrictions could serve a purpose, but we need to be clear about what that purpose is right now,' he continued.
'We still have restrictions in place against travel from China and the UK. That doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm not really sure what the overall strategy is around these continued travel restrictions that we have in place.'
Gottlieb said the best way to protect Americans from virus variants - wherever they may come from - is by increasing vaccination rates here at home.
Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb (pictured) on Sunday said America's restrictions on travel from countries including India, China and the United Kingdom 'don't make sense'
The US, to date, has not banned flights from countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic but has restricted travel for non-citizens from places where the virus, or its variants, are spreading at concerning rates.
The ban prohibits foreigners who have been in a restricted country in the 14 days prior from coming to the US. The restrictions do not apply to American citizens returning to the US.
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India was added to the restricted list last week as it weathers a second wave where medics say 30,000 people are dying every single day, bodies are piling up in the streets and three different types of its homegrown variant are ravaging the country.
Other countries on the restricted list include the UK, Brazil, Ireland, China and 26 European countries that are part of the border-free Schengen zone.
They include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta,