On Monday, President Joe Biden will reinstate travel restrictions on non-U.S. citizens who have been in Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and most European countries in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to Reuters.
In one of his last acts as president, Donald Trump ordered the pandemic-related travel restrictions on Brazil and Europe to be lifted, but Biden’s Monday announcement will reverse that order. He will also institute a ban on most non-U.S. citizens traveling from South Africa to contain the spread of a coronavirus strain that was recently discovered there.
From Trump, Biden inherited a country that has had one of the world’s worst responses to the pandemic. The United States has more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more deaths from the disease than any other country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. At least 25 million Americans have been infected, and more than 418,000 have died from the coronavirus. The pandemic has also battered the economy, forcing widespread business closures and layoffs. The Labor Department announced last week that weekly jobless claims remain historically high.
The Biden administration is taking a markedly different approach to the virus than the Trump administration, which discouraged efforts to curtail the pandemic and left states to fend for themselves. Instead, Biden and his staff have taken steps to show that they take the virus seriously, including mandating mask-wearing on federal property, overhauling the vaccine rollout, and instituting the new travel restrictions.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the administration’s top infectious disease expert, said Biden’s goal to have at least 100 Americans vaccinated within the first 100 days of his presidency “absolutely” doable. However, the administration has also cautioned that the pandemic will worsen before it gets better.
Currently, cases are surging in at least 30 states across the country, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has warned the U.S. could hit 500,000 coronavirus-related deaths by next month.
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