The incoming Biden Administration Monday opposed the move of the outgoing President Donald Trump to lift travel restrictions on Europe and Brazil arguing that this is not the right time to do so in the midst of worsening of the coronavirus pandemic.
"With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel," incoming White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a tweet soon after Trump issued an executive order to lift travel restrictions on European and Brazil.
In an executive order, Trump said he is removing the restrictions applicable to the European Union, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Brazil, while leaving in place the restrictions applicable to China and Iran.
A decision in this regard, he said, is being taken after the January 12 directive of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requiring proof of a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving from a foreign country to the United States.
Trump said that European Union, Britain, Ireland and Brazil will cooperate with the US in the implementation of CDC's January 12, 2021, order and that tests administered there will yield accurate results.
However, the same cannot be said of China and Iran. "Those jurisdictions' responses to the pandemic, their lack of transparency, and their lack of cooperation with the United States thus far in combatting the pandemic, cast doubt on their cooperation in implementing CDC's January 12, 2021, order," Trump said.
However, the incoming Biden Administration indicated that it will enforce a strong travel restriction.
"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 measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Psaki said in another tweet.