The timeline for the ending of U.S. travel restrictions from both Europe and Brazil is back to being uncertain.
According to reports, and a statement from a spokesperson for incoming President-elect Joe Biden, the order to lift travel restrictions on Jan. 26, signed on Monday by President Trump, will be reversed once the new administration comes into office this week.
“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the incoming administration said on Twitter on Monday night.
“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 measure around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” she added.
The U.S. has restricted most inbound travel from Europe since the pandemic began in March (and Brazil since May).
A week ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed an order that required all inbound international travelers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to their flight into the U.S. and the hope was for travel restrictions to wind down with the testing requirements in place. That wind down started on Monday, with President Trump signing an order that lifted most of those restrictions with those new testing rules in place.
The CDC, in its release for the new testing rules, said that “variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, and there is evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants. With the US already in surge status, the testing requirement for air passengers will help slow the spread of the virus as we work to vaccinate the American public.”
“Testing does not eliminate all risk,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, MD, said in the release, “but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”