Before he leaves office Wednesday, a White House official confirms President Trump is expected to lift coronavirus-related travel restrictions imposed on much of Europe and Brazil starting Jan. 26.
On Monday, the White House released the text of a new executive order, which states “the Secretary has advised me to remove the restrictions applicable to the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil, while leaving in place the restrictions applicable to the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran. I agree with the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from COVID-19 while enabling travel to resume safely.”
However, the incoming Biden administration says the order will not be implemented.
Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted tonight, “With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”
She added: “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 order, which now seems dead on arrival, also states that the restrictions will be lifted to coincide with a new policy that requires travelers from those nations to have a negative Covid test before being allowed to travel to the US, writing, “On January 12, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order, effective January 26, 2021, requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the United States. The Secretary has explained that this action will help to prevent air passengers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 into the United States, as it is the Secretary’s understanding that the vast majority of persons entering the United States from these jurisdictions do so by air.”
More than 398,000 people in the US have died from Covid-19 since the pandemic started.