Updated: February 24, 2021
U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. will impose a travel ban on South Africa, and reimpose a ban on non-U.S. travelers who have been to UK, Brazil, Ireland and 26 other EU countries, to combat the new COVID-19 variants, Reuters first reported on Sunday, quoting health officials. The 26 countries affected in Europe allow travel across open borders.
Former President Donald J. Trump directed on January 18 the restrictions on Brazil and Europe be lifted effective Tuesday, but President Biden on Wednesday rescinded that decision with his executive order.
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On Tuesday, new CDC rules will take effect, requiring that all international passengers coming into the U.S. wear masks, test negative before they are allowed to board planes, and quarantine once in the U.S.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Wallensky will sign a separate order on Monday requiring masks on all airplanes, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-share vehicles to beat the virus, Reuters quoted officials as saying.
The news agency said the CDC will not, as it said on January 12, consider granting temporary waivers to airlines to exempt some travelers from countries with limited testing capacity.
Several U.S. airlines were said to have asked CDC for waivers last week.
Reuters quoted CDC officials, as saying that they will consider case-by-case humanitarian exemptions for some travelers if needed, noting that 120 countries currently have mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements for international travel.