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Rand Paul slams Fauci’s ‘authoritarianism,’ US travel restrictions

US Republican Senator Rand Paul

Republican Senator Rand Paul has slammed Dr. Anthony Fauci’s “authoritarianism” and American travel restrictions against other countries to contain the spread of omicron, the new variant of COVID-19, after the Biden administration has imposed what the United Nations called “travel apartheid” against southern African countries.

“The travel bans aren't going to work. The new variant is in over half of the states in our country. It's in 40 different countries. There's no travel ban that's going to stop this,” Paul said Sunday in an interview with John Catsimatidis on WABC 770 AM.

“We don't even yet know whether it's a good or a bad thing," Paul added, referring to the variant. "And if it turns out that it's much less dangerous, and it crowds out the delta variant, it might be a blessing in disguise."

He also said that “restrictions on our liberties” were not science-based, but “based on whims.”

“They're based on basically [Anthony] Fauci’s impulse to authoritarianism is what I call it,” Paul said. “His gut reaction — his immediate knee-jerk reaction to everything is to take away your liberty. I mean, look, all they had to hear was a sniff of this new variant from South Africa. And they're freaking out with all the new things they're going to require you to do.”

Top US infectious disease official Dr. Fauci has said the United States will “hopefully” be able to lift its travel ban on African countries “in a quite reasonable period of time.”

In an interview with CNN last week, Fauci said that the US was re-evaluating the travel ban, a week after he said the ban would give the US time to prepare for the highly contagious omicron variant of coronavirus.

The White House chief medical adviser said some early data about the omicron data is “a bit encouraging,” and added that now the travel ban could be lifted.

Paul has frequently censured Fauci, and called for his resignation and said that he should serve a five-year prison sentence for allegedly lying to Congress over whether gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute received funding from the National Institute of Health.

In response, Fauci has argued that he bears no responsibility for the pandemic and has called Paul’s claims “egregiously incorrect.”

“Anybody who spins lies and threatens and all that theater that goes on with some of the investigations and the congressional committees and the Rand Pauls and all that other nonsense, that's noise, Margaret. That's noise. I know what my job is,” Fauci, the country's top infectious diseases expert, told “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan on CBS in late November.

Former Republican President Donald Trump - who lost his bid for re-election as the deadly pandemic ravaged the US economy - and many of his supporters referred to COVID-19 as the "China virus."

However, US intelligence agencies have said they may never be able to identify the origins of COVID-19.

The Office of the US Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said in a recently declassified report that a natural origin and a lab leak are both plausible hypotheses for how SARS-COV-2 first infected humans. But it said analysts disagree on which is more likely or whether any definitive assessment can be made at all.

The report also dismissed suggestions that the coronavirus originated as a bioweapon, saying proponents of this theory "do not have direct access to the Wuhan Institute of Virology" and have been accused of spreading disinformation.



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