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dpa/GNA – Outgoing US President Donald Trump on Monday said limits on arrivals from Europe and Brazil will be lifted from January 26, though the incoming Biden administration responded that restrictions would remain in place.

Trump, who is due to leave office in less than 48 hours, said in a proclamation that the “unrestricted entry” into the US of persons who have been in the Schengen Area, Britain, Ireland and Brazil “is no longer detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

He said the decision was taken off the back of health advice after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order, effective January 26, requiring all air passengers travelling to the US to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test.

Shortly after Trump announcement, a spokesperson for US President-elect Joe Biden said the incoming administration “does not intend to lift” international travel restrictions.

“On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Biden spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a tweet.

“With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel,” the spokeswoman added in a second tweet.

The restrictions on travel from European countries were imposed in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Travel from Brazil was first restricted in May.

A number of countries closed their borders to Britain before Christmas after a new strain of the virus was discovered there, while Britain earlier this month announced a ban for people flying in from South America, Panama, Portugal and Cape Verde after an outbreak of a new coronavirus strain in Brazil.

Brazil is one of the countries hit hardest by the pandemic. Some 8.5 million people have caught the virus in the country of 210 million inhabitants and more than 209,000 people have died of Covid-19.

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