CHARLOTTE, N.C. — "Outrageous and an overreaction" — that’s how one of South Africa’s top epidemiologists views the Biden administration’s new travel ban.


What You Need To Know

Charlotte woman works to connect South Africans to the U.S.

She is seeing lots of clients dealing with travel bans imposed because of COVID-19

Biden has established new travel requirements for international travelers entering the U.S.


The ban, which covers eight Southern African countries, was put in place after another COVID-19 variant, omicron, was discovered.

Now travelers around the world find themselves unexpectedly stranded.

A Charlotte woman is working to connect family members on the two continents.

Dianne Stewart is a U.S. citizen who is originally from South Africa. She runs a Facebook group called South Africans in Charlotte and owns a business called Pathway USA, which helps people navigate the U.S. immigration process.

She’s in touch with many current and previous clients affected by the travel bans.

“People have been waiting here in Charlotte, especially in North Carolina, where there are so many South Africans. They are desperate to take their families back home to see their grandparents and grandchildren,” she said. "It’s devastating.”

She also is critical of the ban.

“It affects people’s real lives, and that’s what people are not taking into account,” she said.

Under the ban, nonresidents coming from South Africa can’t enter the United States.

In a press conference Thursday, President Joe Biden also released updated travel guidelines.

All international travelers coming to the U.S., regardless of vaccination status or nationality, must have a negative COVID-19 test the day prior to flying or showing documentation that they’ve recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

U.S. officials said they aren’t announcing any steps on post-arrival testing and quarantine.

Mask mandates for airports and flying have been extended through March 18.