A traveler leaves a test center at Heathrow Airport in London on January 17, 2021.
Hollie Adams | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The incoming Biden administration said Monday it would not lift entry bans on most visitors from Europe, the UK and Brazil less than an hour after President Donald Trump ordered the end of travel restrictions on Covid-19.
“With the pandemic worsening and its contagious variants around the world, this is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel,” tweeted President-elect Joe Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
Trump first introduced the rules in March to contain the spread of the virus, even though Covid-19 was previously circulating in the United States.
On Monday evening, he issued a proclamation lifting restrictions just two days before Biden’s inauguration. The rules prohibit most non-US citizens from entering the US if they have been to Brazil, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, Ireland or the UK in the past two weeks.
Trump’s proclamation on Monday came less than a week after the US announced that travelers, including US citizens flying to the US from abroad, would have to test negative for Covid-19 before flying. This requirement goes into effect on January 26th – the same day the travel restrictions would be lifted. Trump said it would keep travel restrictions from Iran and China. Much of Europe is still banning most US citizens.
Airlines have repeatedly asked the U.S. government to replace the bans, which have contributed to plummeting demand and billions in losses, with preflight Covid tests. International travel volume fell more sharply than domestic travel volume during the pandemic.