According to a report by the Associated Press, two anonymous officials from the Biden administration have stated that the President will, today, formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders.
On Sunday evening, the officials also claimed that South Africa will be added to the list of nations from where travel has been restricted, due to the new variant that is claimed to be a lot more infectious. Although the South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States, another variant that originated in the United Kingdom has been detected in several states.
The order that will be reinstated today is a complete reversal of former President Trump’s travel relaxations that he signed in favor of during the last few days of his presidency. In his last days in office, Donald Trump announced that a Covid-19 ban on travelers arriving from much of Europe and Brazil would be lifted, but the Biden administration immediately said it would reverse the order due to come into effect on January 26.
Meanwhile, Biden, last week issued an executive order directing federal agencies to require international air travelers to quarantine upon U.S. arrival. The order also requires that all U.S.-bound passengers ages 2 and above get negative COVID-19 test results within three days before traveling.
Biden has said that the Covid-19 death toll would likely rise from 420,000 to half a million next month — and that drastic action was needed. “We’re in a national emergency. It’s time we treated it like one,” he said last Thursday.
The newly anointed President is pushing for Congress to approve a $1.9-trillion relief package that would include billions of dollars to boost vaccination rates and has said he wants 100 million people vaccinated within his first 100 days in office, as he has called for Americans to wear masks for 100 days.
More than 25 million Covid-19 cases have been recorded in the US since the pandemic began, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally on Sunday. The milestone was reached only five days after the US, the world’s wealthiest and hardest-hit nation, recorded 400,000 deaths from the disease.