Biden to maintain European, Brazilian air travel bans

Incoming US administration says it was premature of President Trump to schedule the end of bans on airline travelers from Europe and Brazil to the US.

Outgoing US President Donald Trump lifted travel restrictions on European and Brazilian airline passengers on his penultimate full day in office, but the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden immediately responded that it would not allow the travel bans to be lifted. 

Biden will be sworn in as the next US president on Jan. 20. Trump noted in a statement issued by the White House that the US is imposing a COVID-19 testing rule on Jan. 26. This will require all incoming international airline passengers to present evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within three days of departure. Because of the testing rule, it will no longer be necessary to continue to ban European and Brazilian passengers from entering the US, Trump said. He added that travel bans would remain in place for inbound passengers from China and Iran.  

Regarding Europe’s Schengen Area, the UK, Ireland and Brazil, Trump said: “Public health officials in the jurisdictions have a proven record of working with the United States to share accurate and timely COVID-19 testing and trend data, and the United States has active collaborations with the jurisdictions regarding how to make travel safe between our respective countries. As a result of that record, the [US has] high confidence that these jurisdictions will cooperate with the United States in the implementation of [the testing] order and that tests administered there will yield accurate results.” 

But Biden’s incoming press secretary, Jen Psaki, said it was not the time to lift travel bans and Biden will reverse Trump’s order to end the bans once he takes office.  

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,”  she said.

“On the advice of our medical team, the [Biden] administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on [Jan. 26]. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” 

Photo credit: Joe Pries

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