President Trump on Monday lifted a COVID-19 travel ban on Brazil and much of Europe — but President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming press secretary vowed to reverse the move.
Trump’s new order would have ended the travel restrictions on Jan. 26, six days after Trump leaves office.
Incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki almost immediately tweeted that Trump’s order would be nixed when Biden takes office on Jan. 20.
“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Psaki wrote.
“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.”
Trump’s policy change would have kept similar COVID-19 bans on foreigners who visited China or Iran in the past 14 days.
In his order lifting restrictions on Europe and Brazil, Trump cited a new travel rule requiring foreigners to provide a negative COVID-19 test before flights to the US.
Trump said in a proclamation released by the White House that officials in the 22-country European Schengen Zone, the UK, Ireland and Brazil “have a proven record of working with the United States to share accurate and timely COVID-19 testing and trend data, and the United States has active collaborations with the jurisdictions regarding how to make travel safe between our respective countries.”
The European countries and Brazil are likely to “cooperate with the United States in the implementation of CDC’s January 12, 2021, order and… tests administered there will yield accurate results,” the Trump-issued document says.
Trump banned travel from the Schengen Zone in March near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Brazil, Ireland and the UK were added later.
Trump said that China and Iran are non-transparent, so the US won’t lift travel bans.
“This cooperation [from Europe and Brazil] stands in stark contrast to the behavior of the governments and state-owned enterprises of the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran, which repeatedly have failed to cooperate with the United States public health authorities and to share timely, accurate information about the spread of the virus,” Trump said.
“Those jurisdictions’ responses to the pandemic, their lack of transparency, and their lack of cooperation with the United States thus far in combatting the pandemic, cast doubt on their cooperation in implementing CDC’s January 12, 2021, order.”
Biden has vowed to use his inaugural speech to plead with Americans to wear face masks for 100 days.
But Biden also pledged his own dramatic re-opening of travel. He reportedly will issue an order Wednesday ending Trump’s travel restrictions on a group of predominately Muslim countries, including Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Trump said he restricted travel from those countries in 2017 due to security concerns.