President Trump chose not to lift a travel ban that prevents British and European visitors entering the United States according to the UK’s transport minister Grant Shapps in comments made on LBC Radio on Friday morning. Shapps, however, appeared hopeful that the near year-long travel ban could be lifted once President-elect Biden takes office on January 20.
“I’m afraid the US President has decided not to sign what’s called 212(f),” Shapps said, referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act which allows the President of the United States to suspend the entry of aliens if it’s determined that not doing so would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.
In March 2020, President Trump signed a proclamation banning the entry of foreigners who had been in Europe or the UK in the past 14-days as part of the initial U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order was also extended to Brazil and both China and Iran find themselves subject to the same ban.
In late November, it was reported that both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House Coronavirus task force had recommended lifting the draconian travel ban.
Sources also claimed that senior British government officials had been involved in a “concerted effort” to get the travel ban lifted in December 2020 and some newspapers reported that the proclamation would be withdrawn within weeks.
While it was believed that President Trump had never come to a decision on the matter, Shapps suggested on Friday that the Trump administration had rejected calls from public health officials to lift the ban.
When asked if there might be a change in policy once Joe Biden is inaugurated on January 20, Shapps replied: “It might change with the new President but it also, you know, the UK has now vaccinated 3 million people with at least the first jab, more than France, Germany, Italy, Spain combined.”
“We are well on our way to our target of getting to the first 15 million most vulnerable people and I just want to say there is a future out there isn’t there, where we’ve dealt with this, the world’s dealt with this through vaccination.”
“So I know it will change, I’m desperate for us not to have all manner of bans and other things in place but for the time being safety first I’m afraid,” he continued.
On Wednesday, Dr Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine suggested that new pre-departure testing requirements set to come in force on January 26 could be used to lift existing or at least partially ease existing travel restrictions.
“Protecting the global public’s health while minimizing the interference to travel and trade is essentially our goal,” Cetron explained. “This testing order is really a recognition and another step in that direction.”
Major U.S. airlines are publicly supporting the pre-departure testing rules in the hope that it can be used to lift travel restrictions in the coming weeks and months.
Photo Credit: Dan Calderwood via Unsplash
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.