On Monday night, President Donald Trump announced that he would terminate the restrictions on entering the United States that have been in place since March 2020, opening up the country to foreign visitors for the first time in many months.
The COVID-19 travel restrictions currently prohibit entry to non-US citizens who have recently spent time in Brazil, Europe’s Schengen countries, Ireland, the United Kingdom, China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), and Iran.
According to the Trump administration, these restrictions are being lifted for travelers from the Schengen Area, the UK, Ireland, and Brazil on January 26, less than a week after the Biden administration takes office.
The incoming administration, however, has other plans. Almost immediately after news broke of the loosening restrictions, a statement was released vowing not to lift the restrictions.
Jen Psaki, incoming press secretary for Joe Biden, tweeted, “With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”
With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) January 19, 2021
With new COVID-19 variants emerging around the world, from Brazil to South Africa, the new administration doesn’t believe now is the best time to start relaxing the restrictions.
Trump’s proclamation comes a few days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an order that required all international air travelers entering the US to present a negative COVID-19 test, which will start on January 26.