President Donald Trump announced on Monday the next reopening of American borders to European nationals in the Schengen area, to the British, Irish and Brazilians from January 26, before being immediately contradicted by the spokesperson for the future President Joe Biden.
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“Now is not the time to lift restrictions on international travel,” said Jen Psaki, on his Twitter account, who is officially due to take up his duties as spokesperson for new President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
The tweets fell just minutes after the announcement of Donald Trump’s decision, justified by the introduction, on the same date, of an obligation to present a negative test for the coronavirus when entering the United States. .
To slow the progression of the pandemic, Donald Trump closed the United States’ borders to the 26 countries of the Schengen area on March 11, 2020, then to the United Kingdom and Ireland on the 14, before doing the same for Brazil on May 24.
“On the advice of our medical team, the (future) government does not intend to lift these restrictions on January 26,” Jen Psaki wrote on Twitter. “Besides,” she added, “we plan to strengthen public health measures applied to international travel to further combat the spread of COVID-19. “
This is another episode of a transition unprecedented in modern US history, with outgoing President Donald Trump intending to limit contact with Joe Biden’s team to a minimum.
Donald Trump plans to leave Washington even before his successor’s inauguration ceremony on Wednesday.
The threat of variants
The United States is currently facing the worst phase of the pandemic the country has seen to date, with more than 20,000 deaths in the past six days.
The future White House spokeswoman also recalled that variants of the much more contagious virus had recently been identified for the first time in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
The British variant has already made its way to the United States, where it has been found in patients in several regions.
Some 10.5 million people have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States, but the campaign has seen many hiccups. Less than 40% of the doses distributed have been administered to date, but several regions threaten to run out of vaccines as of this week, in particular in the State of New York.
The exchange between Donald Trump and the Biden team is a new illustration of the gap between the two camps. On the one hand, the Republican president is in favor of lifting restrictions, on American territory or vis-à-vis his main partners.
On the other hand, Joe Biden wants to play it safe and seeks more to give the Americans the economic resources necessary to hold out until the end of the pandemic, in particular with a massive support plan of 1.9 billion dollars.
The 46th President of the United States announced on Saturday that he would issue an executive order on Wednesday to make it compulsory to wear a mask in premises and areas dependent on the federal state, as well as when traveling between states, which Donald Trump had always refused to do so.