I was elated to hear yesterday that President Donald Trump would rescind the travel ban that has barred Brazilians, British, and Europeans from visiting the United States during the pandemic. But just hours later, the incoming Biden Administration announced it would block these changes from going into effect.
Biden Blocks Lifting European, UK, Brazilian Travel Bans
By Presidential Proclamation, President Trump announced the United States would lift prohibitions against travel from Brazil, Great Britain, and the 26-nation European Schengen Area when a new COVID-19 testing requirement goes into effect on January 26, 2021. (Bans against China and Iran were to remain in place)
But Trump will not longer be in office on that date. And just hours later, incoming Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement on Twitter stating that the Biden Administration would not loosen the ban on travel, effectively overruling the presidential decree.
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 new Administration will lift the so-called Muslim Travel Ban on Day 1, and rightfully so. But Europeans and British are deemed too much of a risk, despite new requirements that a negative COVID-19 must be presented in order to travel to the United States.
Airlines have lobbied hard to replace border closures with pre-flight testing requirements, but it appears they will get both.
I had hoped the new Administration would use a bit more common sense and bit less impotent machismo, but it appears the Biden Administration will continue to restrict travel from nations and lands where it is far less prevalent than in the United States.
Every precaution may slow the spread of the pandemic. Yet here we are nearly a year into it and people remain separated, business remains suspended, and the pain and suffering from lockdowns remains a stark challenge.
Whatever your view on these travel restrictions, let us all hope that widespread vaccinations around the world will allow borders to re-open later this year. And for the record, if a continued travel ban can get this under control quicker, then I will be happy to confess I was wrong. I just don’t see that happening.
Is the charge that Biden blocks travel fair? Is this the right move or too cautious?