United States president, Joe Biden is Monday expected to reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions which his predecessor Donald Trump had lifted.
The ban would prevent most non-U.S. citizens from entry if they have recently been in South Africa, where a new aggressive variant of Covid-19 has been identified.
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Biden is also expected to reinstate broader restrictions that were in effect much of the past year but were rescinded by President Donald Trump days before his term ended.
The COVID-19 travel restrictions would affect non-U.S. citizens travelling from the United Kingdom, Ireland and much of Europe in what is known as the Schengen countries, which share a common visa process. Travellers from Brazil would also be affected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Sunday that, beginning Tuesday, it will no longer consider exceptions to its requirement that international travelLers present negative coronavirus tests.
Airlines had asked the agency to relax the rule for some countries with limited testing capacity. A CDC spokesman said in a statement:
As variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus continue to emerge in countries around the world, there is growing evidence of increased transmissibility of some of these variants, as well as unknown health and vaccine implications.
Testing before and after travel is a critical layer to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 and emerging variants.
The US is the most hit nation with over 25 million infections and over 429 000 fatalities.