THE incoming Biden administration will NOT lift entry bans on those traveling from the UK, Brazil and much of Europe on January 26.
Travel restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic barring most visitors from Europe coming to the US have been in place since mid-March, while the Brazilian entry ban came into force in May.
This was reportedly set to end next week under a new proclamation from president Trump, the same day that new Covid-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors, according to Reuters.
But it has now revealed that these restrictions will not be lifted, and Joe Biden will instead be toughening rules around international travel.
Political advisor Jen Psaki, who was the White House communications chief until 2017, said: “With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.
“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.”
The Trump administration had considered lifting the restrictions in November, after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials.
The rules have barred nearly all non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe that allow travel across open borders.
The Trump administration imposed the bans in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
It comes after the US ordered travelers coming in from the UK to test negative or have proof of recovery from Covid before entering the country amid new mutant super-strain fears.
Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed the mandate, which will come in to force on January 26.
Airlines hope the new testing requirements will clear the way for the administration to lift the restrictions that reduced travel from some European countries by 95% or more.
They pressed senior White House officials about the issue in recent days.
US officials hoped the order – which also applies to American citizens – would stop the new strain from spreading across the country.
But at least three states in the US – Colorado, California, and Florida – have already recorded cases of the new strain, originally detected in the UK.
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Officials said that the strain seen in the UK is a “more transmissible” Covid-19 variant linked to South Africa.
The White House has not considered lifting entry bans on most non-US citizens who have recently been in China or Iran, it is reported.