A White House official disclosed that President Joe Biden is set to re-impose a Covid-19 travel ban on all non-US citizens who have been in Britain, Brazil, Ireland and much of Europe.
This development is coming in as the new administration works on improving its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In light of reports suggesting the presence of the South African strain of the virus in the United States, the official stated that the President, Biden will also extend the ban to travelers who have recently been to South Africa. This statement confirms the report of US media houses reporting the presence of this more transmissible coronavirus variants for some time now.
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As the case of COVID-19 is on the high within the country, the new president has chosen to enforce strict compliance with mask-wearing and he also ordered quarantine for people flying into the United States.
Biden has said that the Covid-19 death toll would likely rise from 420,000 to half a million next month — and that drastic action was needed.
“We’re in a national emergency. It’s time we treated it like one,” he said on Thursday.
In his last days in office, Donald Trump announced that a Covid-19 ban on travellers arriving from much of Europe and Brazil would be lifted — but the Biden administration immediately said it would reverse the order due to come into effect on January 26.
Trump had announced an initial ban on January 31, 2020, on non-American travellers entering from China to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The ban was extended to European countries on March 14 as the pandemic entered full force.
More than 25 million Covid-19 cases have been recorded in the US since the pandemic began, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally on Sunday.
The milestone was reached only five days after the US, the world’s wealthiest and hardest-hit nation, recorded 400,000 deaths from the disease.
Biden has made fighting the coronavirus a priority and is pushing for Congress to approve a $1.9-trillion relief package that would include billions of dollars to boost vaccination rates.
The president, who was inaugurated on January 20, has said he wants 100 million people vaccinated within his first 100 days in office, and he has called for Americans to wear masks for 100 days.