US President Joe Biden on Thursday signed an executive order that includes a quarantine requirement for all travelers entering America.
The travel rule is part of 10 executive orders signed by Biden, during his second day in office, as part of his administration’s Covid-19 National Action Plan, which aims to increase vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and boost mask-wearing.
The “Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel”, requires all entering the US by air to be tested for the coronavirus before flying, and to subsequently quarantine on arrival. The rule will apply also to US citizens.
Regarding quarantine length and the type and timing of acceptable testing for travel, the executive order notes that the Department of Health and Human Services, the Transportation Safety Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration are expected to submit their recommendations to Biden within 14 days.
It is reminded that the testing requirement had already been announced by the previous administration of Donald Trump. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all international travelers to the US will be obliged to present a negative Covid-19 test result to be allowed admission into the country as of January 26.
However, until now, quarantine after arrival was only a recommendation.
No mention has been made yet regarding the decision by the previous administration of Donald Trump to lift Covid-19 travel restrictions on Europe and Brazil on January 26.
Earlier this week, Jennifer Psaki, Biden’s White House press secretary, said that the new administration would not lift the ban.
“On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19,” she said on Twitter.
The US travel restrictions on Europe and Brazil have been in place since mid-March and May, respectively.
Biden mandates masks on domestic modes of transport
The travel-related executive order also makes masks mandatory in all US airports and on interstate modes of travel, including trains, planes, buses and maritime vessels (including ferries).
The new Biden policy is expected to make mask enforcement easier and also boost passenger compliance.
Until now, airlines already required masks and banned passengers who refused to follow the rule.
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, the country’s largest flight attendant labor union, applauded the policy on face coverings.
“Today’s executive action on a mask mandate for interstate travel, including airports and planes, will provide much needed back up for flight attendants and aviation workers on the frontlines,” the association’s president, Sara Nelson, said in a statement.
Details on how the new mask rule will be enforced have yet to be announced.