President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to reverse efforts by President Donald Trump in the final days of his presidency to lift a COVID-19 travel ban on passengers arriving from Europe and Brazil.
Trump on Monday signed an executive order effective from January 26 which lifted the restrictions imposed last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Trump’s plan the restrictions would be lifted on non-US nationals arriving from the UK, Ireland, most of the EU, and Brazil. The ban on travelers arriving from China and Iran would remain.
Shortly afterward a spokesperson for Biden, who will be inaugurated Wednesday, said the new president would reverse the order to extend the existing travel restrictions.
“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” said spokesperson Jen Psaki on Twitter.
“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 added.
Biden last week announced an ambitious $400 billion plan to fight the coronavirus. It included a $20 billion vaccination program, funding for a scaled-up testing regime, and policies which focus on helping underserved communities.
The president-elect has railed against Trump’s attempts to downplay the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.
More recently criticized the president for the current pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which ha said had fallen “far behind” expectations.
Biden also plans during his first day in the White House to sign “roughly a dozen” executive orders designed to reverse some of President Trump’s signature policies, his chief of staff Ron Klein said.
That includes lifting a separate travel ban on several Muslim majority companies and rejoining the Paris climate accord.