US will not lift Covid-19 travel bans despite Trump statement, Biden team says

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The White House said on Monday said the United States would rescind entry bans imposed because of the coronavirus on most non-U.S. citizens arriving from Brazil and much of Europe effective Jan. 26. However, President-elect Joe Biden’s team quickly dismissed the statement.

According to the White House announcement, the restrictions would end the same day that new COVID-19 test requirements take effect for nearly all international air passengers arriving in the United States.

But Biden’s spokeswoman on Monday quickly dismissed Donald Trump’s announcement that a Covid-19 ban on travelers arriving from much of Europe and Brazil would be lifted, underlining the US’ fractious transition of power.

“On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26,” tweeted Jen Psaki, Biden’s press secretary.

“In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday.

Reuters first reported Trump’s action earlier on Monday. Trump did not announce plans to lift restrictions he imposed last year on people who have recently been in China and Iran.