The Biden administration reinstated the travel ban after former president Donald Trump rescinded it despite COVID-19 variant threats.
Biden, who took office on Wednesday, is taking an aggressive approach to combating the spread of the virus after Trump rejected mandates sought by USA health agencies. The US is also stepping up surveillance of virus variants to monitor their impact on vaccines.
"They are under very close observation, and we have enhanced contact tracing to do everything we possibly can to stop them from spreading", he said, adding that all the known cases were people who had travelled from South Africa or had contact with someone else who had done so.
The South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States but another variant - originating in the UK - has been detected in several states.
Inslee's office didn't immediately return a request for comment Thursday.
According to a report out Sunday night from Reuters, the restrictions aim to mitigate a new strain of the coronavirus from entering the United States and are set to go into effect next Saturday.
He says this is because what scientists know from other vaccines and from the human immune responses is they "don't plateau and fall in that kind of time period".
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The CDC said it would consider case-by-case humanitarian exemptions for some travelers if needed, but added that about 120 countries have mandatory virus testing for global travel.
On Tuesday, another CDC rule for travelers of the same age range will also require a negative coronavirus test taken three calendar days before travel.
"With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on worldwide travel", Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary tweeted earlier this week.
CDC officials have for weeks discussed the possibility of adding these testing requirements before United States domestic flights or requiring testing upon return from global travel but have made no decisions.
It's expected that returning citizens will be the only persons allowed to enter the USA from restricted countries.
Travellers from South Africa are expected to be banned from entering the US in line with a host of new restrictions which will be signed into law by new US President Joe Biden.