Reversing the policy of his predecessor, Donald Trump, President Joe Biden re-imposed a ban on European and Brazilian travellers on Monday. As a result of the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus in that country, the White House also barred South African people from entering the US.
“On the advice of his COVID-19 and medical team, the President is taking these steps,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily press briefing.
“President Biden has decided to maintain the previously established restrictions for the European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Brazil,” said Psaki.
This is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel, with the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants spreading, Psaki said.
“And South Africa was added to the restricted list in light of the contagious variant B1351,” she said.
This applies irrespective of citizenship, she claimed.
US citizens should reconsider non-essential travel abroad, the State Department stated. Strict implementation of travel restrictions should be carefully considered by those who must travel abroad following the implementation of this order.
Psaki refuted, in response to a question, that these travel restrictions were similar to Trump’s.
That’s not quite a fair articulation, I think. It was obvious to the President that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic. He overturned a ban on Muslims.
However, he also supported steps, travel restrictions, and himself, even before—or we did, I should say, even before he was inaugurated—in order to keep the American people safe to ensure that we get the pandemic under control. That was a part of his policy,’ she said.
But for having a policy that was not more detailed than the travel restrictions, he was critical of the former president. At the time, and more recently, he conveyed the importance of having a multi-faceted approach to getting 100 million shots in the arms of Americans in the first hundred days, not just travel restrictions, mask-wearing, vaccine distribution funding,’ Psaki said.