President Trump Moves to Lift COVID-19 Travel Ban on Europe and Brazil
President Trump announced an executive order on Jan. 18 that restrictions imposed on travelers coming to the U.S. from Europe and Brazil will be lifted on Jan. 26. The White House also announced that all incoming air passengers will need a negative COVID-19 test before boarding a plane.
Trump wrote that Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, recommended ending the travel restrictions on Europe and Brazil, while still keeping them in place for China and Iran.
“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,” President Trump said.
The travel ban is still in effect for China and Iran because the countries “repeatedly have failed to cooperate with the United States public health authorities and to share timely, accurate information about the spread of the virus.”
These restrictions prohibiting European travelers from entering the U.S. were imposed in mid-March, while the Brazilian travel ban was imposed in May.
The airline industry and European countries lobbied the White House to end the blanket ban since testing standards were in place and vaccination rates increased.
Trump’s rollback on these travel restrictions comes after a more infectious variant of the coronavirus was discovered in the UK. This new coronavirus strain is circulating in a number of countries, including the U.S. The official death count of COVID-19 related deaths also reached 400,000 on Jan. 19.
President-elect Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, denounced Trump’s decision to lift the travel ban and tweeted that the Biden administration plans to keep the restrictions in effect.