Corrections clarifications: An earlier version of this story misstated the terms of one of President Joe Biden’s executive orders, which formalizes an international COVID-19 travel testing requirement and recommends international travelers quarantine upon arrival in the U.S.
President Joe Biden on Monday reinstated travel restrictions to combat coronavirus infections, via a presidential proclamation.
The restrictions, which were in place for most of 2020, apply to non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and much of Europe. Then-President Donald Trump rescinded the restrictions days before the end of his term. Biden’s proclamation added South Africa to the restricted list, effective Jan. 30, in light of the new contagious coronavirus variant first seen there.
“With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, this isn’t the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing Monday.
“On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on (Jan.) 26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Psaki said on Twitter last week.
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“It is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry” of non-U.S. citizens who were in the noted countries within 14 days of their attempted entry into the U.S., Biden’s proclamation says.
U.S. residents and nationals; spouses or children of citizens or residents; parents, guardians or minor siblings of citizens or residents under 21; those seeking asylum; and several other groups are exempt.
Last week, Biden issued an executive order formalizing an international testing requirement to begin Jan. 26, which was previously announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Air travelers ages 2 and over bound from international destinations for the U.S. must provide a negative coronavirus test result within three days of traveling and abide by the CDC’s recommendation to quarantine once arriving in the U.S.
Contributing: The Associated Press; Courtney Subramanian, USA TODAY