President Joe Biden on Monday, reversing a directive by the Trump administration, will sign an executive order that keeps in place restrictions barring entry by most non-U.S. citizens traveling from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and 26 countries in Europe, and that also bars most travelers from South Africa beginning Saturday, a Biden administration official told Forbes Sunday, aiming to curb the spread of new more infectious—and possibly more deadly—coronavirus variants.
The order, which was first reported by Reuters, comes nearly one week after President Donald Trump sought to lift the restrictions he imposed in one of the final moves of his administration.
Hours after Trump announced he would lift the restrictions on January 26, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration would not follow Trump’s order, asserting that with the “pandemic worsening” it was “not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”
“We are adding South Africa to the restricted list because of the concerning variant present that has already spread beyond South Africa,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s principal deputy director, told Reuters Sunday.
Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week that the United States will require a negative coronavirus test result taken within 72 hours before arrival for all international arrivals, beginning today. The new rule is an effort to keep out a fast-moving new variant of the coronavirus, but in the rollout of the new health protocols, some travel groups saw an opportunity to restart some banned international travel.