President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration plans to block an effort announced by President Trump on Monday to lift bans on travel from Europe, the U.K. and Brazil amid a coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 400,000 people as Trump prepares to leave office.
“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” incoming White House press secretary Jenn Psaki wrote on Twitter, adding that Biden did not intend to lift the restrictions based on the recommendations of his medical team.
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.
— Jen Psaki (@jrpsaki) January 19, 2021
The change released as part of a presidential proclamation on Monday was set to go into effect on Jan. 26, after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention begins to require all passengers from abroad to provide evidence of a negative coronavirus test before boarding a flight.
The news comes as a more contagious strain of coronavirus first identified in the U.K. has been found in the United States, with experts predicting that it could become the dominant strain of coronavirus in the U.S. by March.
Members of Trump’s coronavirus task force had discussed lifting the restrictions for some time people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal. Those members had reportedly argued that the administration’s travel bans did little t o help slow the virus which was already raging across the country when they were installed last spring.
The proclamation lifting the travel ban, which would remain in place for China and Iran, was part of a series of last minute order issued by Trump on Monday, just two days before he leaves office. The travel ban and a series of other 11th hour orders will most likely be knocked down by Biden who has pledged to reverse Trump’s agenda within his first days in the White House.