US president-elect Joe Biden’s team has indicated the country’s new administration will not soften its tough Covid border measures, despite a White House decree seeking to end various curbs on travel to and from the US on 26 January – six days after Biden takes office.
Minutes after the order from the White House was issued on Monday (18 January) to lift long-standing restrictions on travel to the US from the UK, Europe’s Schengen area and Brazil, Biden’s spokesperson Jen Psaki said the incoming president would instead look to toughen measures to guard against the import of new Covid cases and variants.
"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 Psaki.
The decree signed by president Trump came after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week issued an order, due to come into effect on 26 January, requiring all arrivals into the US to provide proof of a negative Covid test result taken prior to their travel.
Trump said, with the exception of continuing to ban travel from China and Iran, the measures would continue to protect Americans from Covid-19 while "enabling travel to resume safely".
However, Psaki further confirmed: "On the advice of our medical team, the administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26 [26 January]. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of Covid-19."