President Joe Biden will reinstate the Covid-19 travel restrictions on non-US citizens in Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and most of Europe on Monday, a White House official confirmed to CNN.
Biden will also apply the restrictions to travelers who have been to South Africa recently, the official said.
The change, first reported by Reuters, comes only one week after President Donald Trump, in his final days in office, signed an executive order lifting restrictions on travelers from these countries effective January 26.
“I agree with the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from COVID-19 while enabling travel to resume safely, “I agree with the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from COVID-19 while allowing travel to resume safely.
However, the Biden transition team promised that the new administration would not lift the restrictions the same night. “With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” then-incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Twitter.
“On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. We plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 further.”
The decision to reinstate the travel restrictions—and to extend the limits in the case of South Africa—is the Biden administration’s new attempt to crack the discursive approach of Trump to the pandemic as patients begin to increase nationally.
Biden said his policy would be “based on science, not politics” on his first full day in office on Thursday as he signed a slate of coronavirus-related executive orders, including ramping up vaccine supplies and requiring foreign travelers to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 test before heading to the US.
For American travelers seeking to reach their borders, many of the countries that would have been affected by Trump’s order have their recent criteria.
U.S. passengers must have a Covid-19 negative test to reach Brazil within 72 hours before heading to the United Kingdom or Ireland, and by evidence of a completed Traveler’s Health Declaration. Generally speaking, American travelers cannot reach countries such as Spain, Germany, France, Italy, and Sweden without unique criteria being met.
To provide extra detail, this story has been revised.