Trump lifts European travel ban but Biden plans to block move


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United States President-elect Joe Biden plans to quickly expand travel restrictions that ban the movement of most people who recently traveled to much of Europe and Brazil soon after President Donald Trump lifted those requirements effective Jan.26, a spokeswoman for Mr. Biden said.

Mr Trump on Monday signed an order lifting restrictions he imposed early last year in response to the pandemic after gaining support from members of the coronavirus task force and public health officials.

Shortly after Mr. Trump’s order was made public, Mr. Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted “On the advice of our medical team, the administration has no plans to lift these restrictions on 01/26 “.

She added that “with the worsening pandemic and the emergence of more contagious variants around the world, now is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel.”

Until Mr Biden takes action, Mr Trump’s order ends restrictions on the same day the new Covid-19 testing requirements come into effect for all international visitors. Mr. Trump is due to step down on Wednesday.

Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed an order requiring almost all air travelers to show a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 to enter the United States from January 26. .

Restrictions repealed by Mr Trump have banned nearly all non-US citizens who, in the past 14 days, have been in Brazil, the UK, Ireland and the 26 Schengen countries in Europe that allow crossing open borders.

U.S. restrictions banning most European visitors have been in place since mid-March, when Mr. Trump signed proclamations requiring them, while the ban on entry into Brazil was imposed in May. Psaki added that “in fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19.”

Mr. Biden, once in office, has the legal authority to reimpose the restrictions.

Last Tuesday, Marty Cetron, director of the CDC’s global migration and quarantine division, told Reuters the entry bans were an “openness strategy” to combat the spread of the virus and should now be “actively” reconsidered “.

Airlines had hoped that the new testing requirements would pave the way for the administration to lift restrictions that cut travel from some European countries by 95% or more.

In recent days, they had pressured senior White House officials over this.

Many administration officials have argued for months that the restrictions no longer make sense given that most countries are not subject to entry bans. Others argued that the United States should not drop entry bans, as many European countries still block most American citizens. – Reuters

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