President Donald Trump signed an order on Monday (18) to rescind the curbs imposed in mid-March in one of his last acts before he is succeeded by President-elect Biden on Wednesday.
Minutes later, Joe Biden has torpedoed Trump’s attempt to lift the Covid travel ban on non-US citizens flying from Britain, EU and Brazil announcing instead that he will strengthen border controls as he enters office.
But the President’s bid to open up Anglo-US travel and boost the aviation industry was thwarted by President-elect Biden’s spokeswoman on Monday just minutes after Reuters news agency broke the news.
Incoming White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted: ‘With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.
‘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.’
Mr. Trump’s attempt to alter policy related to the pandemic just two days before he leaves office is in keeping with the unorthodox way he has conducted the transition to a new administration. Normally, departing presidents refrain from issuing new executive orders without consulting with the incoming president.
But Mr. Trump has refused to abide by those norms. On Monday, he also issued several other executive orders that will most likely be rescinded or reversed by Mr. Biden, including one that would allow federal agencies to issue new regulations only at the instigation of political appointees.
He also issued an executive order directing the federal government not to purchase drones “that present unacceptable risks and are manufactured by, or contain software or critical electronic components from, foreign adversaries.”
The proclamation on the travel restrictions appeared to be an effort to help the airlines and the hospitality industries, which have been hard hit by the ban. In the proclamation, Mr. Trump said that the ban was no longer needed because unrestricted travel into the United States “is no longer detrimental to the interests of the United States” and added that it was “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.”