Omicron variant is 'cause for concern, not a cause for panic,' Biden says

President Biden on Monday said the new omicron variant of coronavirus is a "cause for concern, not a cause for panic," while maintaining that his administration's plan to combat COVID-19 this winter will not involve "shutdowns or lockdowns," but rather a strategy for more widespread vaccinations.

The president spoke from the White House Monday, just days after the World Health Organization designated omicron a "variant of concern," its most serious designation of a COVID-19 variant. 

Biden, last week, restricted travel from South Africa and seven other countries over concerns of the "heavily mutated" omicron variant of COVID-19--a move he said Monday gives the United States "time." 

"It gives us time," Biden said, noting that the American people need to "understand that you have to get your vaccine, you have to get the shot, have to get the booster." 
 
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