Trump lifts COVID-19 travel restrictions, Biden to block changes

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With less than 48 hours left in his presidency, President Trump announced late Monday that he’s lifting COVID-19-related travel restrictions he placed on foreign nationals coming from much of Europe and Brazil. Travel restrictions will continue for most coming from China and Iran.

The restrictions would be lifted as of January 26, after President-elect Joe Biden comes into office, and Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki tweeted Monday that the new administration does not intend to lift the travel conditions on January 26.

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

Mr. Trump cited coordination with U.S. officials and transparency as the justification for lifting travel restrictions on Europe and Brazil.

The president’s proclamation said that “unrestricted entry into the United States of persons who have been physically present in the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), the Republic of Ireland, and the Federative Republic of Brazil is no longer detrimental to the interests of the United States and find that it is in the interest of the United States to terminate the suspension of entry into the United States of persons who have been physically present in those jurisdictions.”

Mr. Trump restricted travel coming from China in late January 2020, and restricted travel coming from Europe in March in 2020.

Now, many countries restrict travelers from the U.S. due to high infection rates in the states. The U.S. has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world, and the highest death toll.

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