Biden Is Bringing Back COVID Travel Restrictions

South Africa will be added to list, officials say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 25, 2021 3:40 AM CST
Biden Is Bringing Back COVID Travel Restrictions
President Biden departs after attending mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

President Biden on Monday will formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-US travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials. The officials, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity to discuss the order, also confirmed Sunday that South Africa would be added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation. Biden is reversing an order from former President Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday. The decision to reverse the order is not surprising, but the addition of South Africa to the restricted travel list highlights the new administration’s concern about mutations in the virus.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, tells Reuters that the agency is "putting in place this suite of measures to protect Americans and also to reduce the risk of these variants spreading and worsening the current pandemic." The South African variant has not been discovered in the United States, but another variant—originating in the United Kingdom—has been detected in several states. Biden last week issued an executive order directing federal agencies to require international air travelers to quarantine upon US arrival. The order also requires that all US-bound passengers ages 2 and above get negative COVID-19 test results within three days before traveling.

(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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