DORAL, FL – New travel restrictions in the U.S. are set to start today, Jan.25, as President Joe Biden confirmed it on Sunday. The ban to enter the country applies to non-U.S. travelers from Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, 26 other European countries and South Africa.
According to two White House officials cited by the Associated Press, there are concerns about a variant of the virus that has spread beyond South Africa, which is the reason behind the addition, not expected, of this country in the list.
It is believed that variants of the COVID-19 virus found in South Africa as well as in Brazil could be more infectious than others and may also decrease the efficacy of vaccines.
The South Africa variant has not yet been discovered in the United States, while a variant originated in the United Kingdom was detected in several states within the country in late December. This one is thought to be more infectious than the main strain, reported NPR-WLRN News.
Amid this scenario, the new administration has taken additional measures besides limiting travel from certain countries. According to the CDC, Starting Tuesday, all travelers flying to the U.S. from abroad ages 2 and above will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before getting on a plane. This must be taken three days before departure.
The CDC won’t consider temporary waivers requested by U.S. airlines that would exempt travelers coming from countries with limited testing, Reuters reports.
In addition, the media reported that Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s new director, will sign another order on Monday requiring passengers 2 years and older to wear masks on all airplanes, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-share vehicles.
The new travel restrictions in the U.S. means a reversion in an order from President Donald Trump, who in his final days attempted to open U.S. borders to foreign travelers.
As of Sunday, Jan.24, there were 25 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.