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Biden to reinstate COVID-19 travel rules, add South Africa

Joe Biden
Posted at 9:18 AM, Jan 25, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two White House officials say President Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders.

The officials spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the upcoming order.

The officials also confirmed that South Africa would be added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation. It has not yet been detected in the United States, but a variant from the U.K. has spread to several states.

Biden is effectively reversing an order from former President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions.

Trump’s move was made in conjunction with a new requirement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that all international travelers to the U.S. obtain a negative test for COVID-19 within three days of boarding their flight.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, called the Biden’s move “prudent” during an interview with CBS News.

“We have concern about the mutation that’s in South Africa,” Fauci said. “We’re looking at it very actively. It is clearly a different and more ominous than the one in the U.K., and I think it’s very prudent to restrict travel of noncitizens.”