Staying home for the year: What Biden’s new travel restrictions mean
President Joe Biden has officially extended certain COVID-19 related travel restrictions for most travelers from Europe, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, and now South Africa given the dangerous mutation that has been reported to have come out of there.
Equally, President Biden has pulled back on some other travel restrictions that were set in place during President Trump’s time in office, including the travel bans on certain African & Muslim countries.
With multiple vaccines being made available to those considered “most vulnerable” to getting the disease, including senior citizens & healthcare workers, The U.S. is clearly making a stand to contain the spread of the virus during this crucial time, a move that could determine how life will be perceived in the years to come as we continue to battle COVID-19.
New travel restrictions
Jen Psaki, the White House’s press secretary, has announced that these travel restrictions are part of the Biden administration’s efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the new variants from around the world which have emerged from it.
Beginning on January 30th, 2021, Joe Biden’s “presidential proclamation” will ban most non-U.S. citizens from entering the country who have recently traveled to South Africa, where a newer, more “deathly” variant to the coronavirus has been detected. The restrictions previously put in place which forbid travel from parts of Europe will also be maintained.
The CDC has also announced a new travel requirement for U.S. citizens asking for a negative COVID-19 test prior to re-entry. Those who will be exempted from the COVID-19 travel ban include “lawful permanent residents of the United States, noncitizen nationals of the U.S., noncitizens who are married to a U.S. citizen”, as well as a few other exceptions.
What does this mean?
More than 400,000 people have died in the U.S. due to complications from COVID-19, and while the country is, thankfully, seeing a slight decrease in new cases, now is not the time to let up.
A few weeks ago, a new strain of the coronavirus was found in the UK, which scientists claimed to be more transmissible than the original virus. The CDC has already confirmed more than 300,000 cases of this new strain is in the U.S.. Now, we have learned that another variant has come from the virus, only this time from South Africa, proclaimed to be more “deathly”.
By limiting travel, we as a country are limiting these variants from spreading at a rapid pace, allowing the healthcare system to keep up with COVID-related hospitalizations as the new vaccines continue to be distributed throughout the country. The aim is to meet President Biden’s goal of “100,000,000 vaccines distributed in the first 100 days of Biden’s presidency.”
Vaccines vs. variants
Currently, the two vaccines being distributed throughout the U.S. (as well as many other countries) were created by Moderna & Pfizer, with both proven at a high effective rate to combat the virus.
While nothing is certain, health officials & scientists believe these vaccines will in fact combat the new variants, as well. Luckily, more of the cavalry appears to be on its way, as the new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is supposedly “right around the corner”, as stated by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
While the UK has implemented the vaccine created by Oxford’s AstraZeneca, making that three vaccines being given to the UK population, the U.S. and the FDA have yet to approve it, and may not distribute the vaccine in the U.S. until Spring.
What are your guys’s thoughts on the new travel bans and maintaining certain travel restrictions? Do you think it’s a good idea that President Joe Biden has lifted some of the previous Muslim & African bans put in place by President Trump? Do you believe these vaccines will cover the new variants? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.