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In an executive order issued Monday night, Trump said he had been advised to lift restrictions for European countries in the Schengen Zone, which consists of 26 countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil, but leaves the restrictions in place. to travel from Iran and China.

“I agree with the secretary that this action is the best way to continue to protect Americans from COVID-19 while allowing travel to resume safely,” Trump wrote in the order, referring to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar.

Countless graves are being dug in anticipation of many, many deaths from coronavirus in Manaus, Brazil.
Countless graves are being dug in anticipation of many, many deaths from coronavirus in Manaus, Brazil. (Getty)

President-elect Joe Biden will take office Wednesday, and his incoming press secretary Jen Psaki said his administration would not lift the restrictions.

“With the pandemic worsening and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel,” Psaki said on Twitter. “On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on January 26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19. “.

Reuters was the first to report on the order.

The long-awaited relaxation of travel restrictions comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that they will require a negative Covid-19 test of all air passengers entering the The United States, a move he says can help curb the spread of the coronavirus. . Air passengers will be required to undergo a test within three days before their flight departure to the United States and provide written documentation of their laboratory results or documentation of having recovered from Covid-19, the agency said in a statement to CNN. .

CNN has reached out to the White House Coronavirus Task Force to find out if the panel approved the anticipated measure.

Donald Trump has been accused of sexual assault by more than 20 women.
Donald Trump. (AP)

The combination of the testing program announced last week and the lifting of travel restrictions aligns with the interests of several airlines that have been in negotiations with the CDC and the White House. Earlier this month, a group of major airlines asked the Trump administration to widely expand a program to screen US-bound passengers while lifting travel restrictions.

Airlines for America, with members such as American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking the administration to implement “a global program to require testing of travelers to the United States.” Such a program would allow authorities to release restrictions on entering the United States from the European Union, the United Kingdom and Brazil, the group wrote.

Last month, the CDC announced that passengers arriving in the United States from the United Kingdom must test negative for Covid-19 prior to departure in response to a new variant of coronavirus that is said to have originated in the UK and is potentially more transferable. At least 72 cases of a variant first identified in the UK have been found in 10 US states, according to data released last week by the CDC.

The possible reversal of travel restrictions would come as the Trump administration shifts to another element of the coronavirus response in recent days in office as president.

The Department of Health and Human Services was expected to announce sweeping changes last week to vaccine implementation guidelines in an effort to increase the lagged number of vaccines in the first month, effectively adopting the approach proposed by the incoming Biden administration.

Since then, hopes for an increase in shipments of Covid-19 vaccines under a new policy to release second doses held in reserve appear to evaporate, with the revelation that those doses have already been distributed, contrary to recent indications from the administration. Trump.

An empty baggage carousel in Seattle, Washington.
An empty baggage carousel in Seattle, Washington. (AP)

A senior administration official told CNN that when the administration announced it would release reserved doses last Friday, many of those reserves had already been released into the system as of last year when production was increasing.

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