Travel Restrictions

Biden to Reinstate COVID Travel Rules, Add South Africa

The ban would affect non-U.S. citizens traveling from South Africa, much of Europe and Brazil

NBC Universal, Inc.

President Joe Biden on Monday will formally reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions on non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders, according to two White House officials.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the order, also confirmed Sunday that South Africa would be added to the restricted list because of concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond that nation.

President Joe Biden signed 10 executive orders to strengthen coronavirus response efforts, including an order to ramp up coronavirus vaccinations, expand testing and require face masks on public interstate transit.

Biden is reversing an order from President Donald Trump in his final days in office that called for the relaxation of the travel restrictions as of Tuesday.

The decision to reverse the order is not surprising, but the addition of South Africa to the restricted travel list highlights the new administration’s concern about mutations in the virus.

The South Africa variant has not been discovered in the United States, but another variant — originating in the United Kingdom — has been detected in several states.

In an interview with LX News, Dr. Anthony Fauci addressed the multiplying mutations of the coronavirus, including a U.K. variant that is thought to be more deadly as well as more contagious. Watch the full interview with Dr. Fauci on NBCLX this Tuesday at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET.

Reuters was first to report Biden’s decision to add South Africa to the list.

Biden last week issued an executive order directing federal agencies to require international air travelers to quarantine upon U.S. arrival. The order also requires that all U.S.-bound passengers ages 2 and above get negative COVID-19 test results within three days before traveling.

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