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Biden enacts new COVID travel measures

Less than one week into his presidency Joe Biden is already implementing a more vigorous approach to the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of a comprehensive vaccine campaign, a wider spread mask mandate, and rejoining the World Health Organization, Biden has also reinstated former President Trump’s travel ban (https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/01/25/960229515/biden-to-implement-travel-restrictions-to-combat-new-coronavirus-variants). This ban took effect today and included 26 European countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa. This measure is meant to help curb the spread of the new strain of COVID that is more contagious. It has already reached portions of the U.S. including Colorado and Michigan.


Former President Trump has initially issued a travel ban earlier during the pandemic but lifted those restrictions two days before leaving office. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said, "With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel. We plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19."


On top of the travel ban, new restrictions have also been implemented for air travel. Beginning Tuesday all passengers flying to the U.S. must first have proof of a recent negative COVID test prior to boarding the plane. There will also be a new mask requirement for passengers ages 2 and up on planes, ferries, buses, trains, subways, and ride-share vehicles.


The U.S. is not alone, with other countries such as Israel and Australia enacting new travel restrictions and even shutting down international airports. Now that we’re over one year into the pandemic will better experience and knowledge help inform government decision making? Will these new restrictions help limit the spread of the latest strains? Use this link for more information about the White House’s plan: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/National-Strategy-for-the-COVID-19-Response-and-Pandemic-Preparedness.pdf

Image Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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