Outgoing US President Donald Trump’s decision to lift Covid-19 travel restrictions on Europe and Brazil on January 26 may be reversed by his successor, Joe Biden, who takes office on Wednesday.
A spokesperson for Biden said Trump’s decision to allow travelers from Europe and Brazil to enter the US was part of a series of orders that the new president is likely to annul, adding that aides to Biden have made it clear that relaxing restrictions now made no sense. Aides to the president-elect said he will maintain the ban when he takes office.
Trump ordered the end of the ban aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus to the US on Monday. His decision would require that incoming travelers to the US would as of January 26 need to present negative Covid-19 test results before boarding a flight, based according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regulations. Restrictions would remain in place for Iran and China.
Trump said he agreed with US Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Michael Azar Jr that “this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from Covid-19 while enabling travel to resume safely”.
However, White House press secretary for Biden said this week that the new administration would not allow Trump’s directives to take effect.
“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” said Jennifer Psaki, Biden’s White House press secretary.
“On the advice of our medical team, the administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26,” she said via her twitter account. “In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”
Among others, control of the pandemic is a key priority of the Biden administration, which has been highly critical of Trump’s management of the global health crisis.
Biden has called on Americans to be prepared to endure a “dark winter” ahead. Among others, the Biden administration on the guidance of advisors is considering instituting a mask mandate in federal workplaces and for interstate travel.