On the eve of his departure, US President Donald Trump lifted travel restrictions on non-US passengers from Brazil and Europe. The announcement was published on Monday (18) for the measure to begin to take effect on January 26, the same day the requirement for a negative test for Covid-19 came into force for foreigners wishing to enter the United States. .
The decision can, however, be overturned by Democrat Joe Biden, who takes office on Wednesday (20) and has said his main concern is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, which has already killed nearly 400,000 Americans.
With the measure announced by Trump, non-US citizens who have visited Brazil and 28 other European countries in the past 14 days will be able to enter the United States with a negative result for the Covid-19 test taken three days before the travel – the measure was announced last week and seen by airlines as paving the way for the U.S. government to lift restrictions.
Reuters news agency reported at the end of November that the White House was considering lifting some of the travel restrictions imposed by Trump’s own administration in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Folha, all bureaucratic issues related to Brazil had been resolved in recent days and authorities were only waiting for Trump’s approval before the Republican left.
As of May, only Americans or foreigners who are permanent residents of the United States have been able to enter the country from restricted countries – there were exceptions for cases such as diplomatic visas and for those traveling on humanitarian grounds, public health and national security, for example.
The US government had pledged, behind the scenes, to analyze the situation in Brazil in the first group of countries in which the suspension or revision of restrictions was reconsidered – which also included Europe – but there was no no guarantee on the dates or format of a concrete measurement.
According to those involved in the negotiations, the United States has assessed both the total lifting of restrictions – a scenario deemed more difficult to achieve by the end of the year – as well as the authorization of entry of groups of travelers in a staggered manner, first allowing the entry of students and entrepreneurs, for example.
Besides Brazil, Trump’s decision benefits travelers who have passed through the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Schengen zone, which includes 26 European countries and where there is no passport control at internal borders. The veto on the entry of the majority of foreign nationals from China and Iran into the United States, however, remains in effect.
The United States is still the world leader in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths, with nearly 270,000 victims, but there was a lot of pressure, mainly from airlines, to keep passenger traffic moving. resume after so many months.
The plan has gained support from members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, the public health sector of the U.S. government and other federal agencies, saying the restrictions no longer made sense, for most. countries of the world. the world was no longer subject to such prohibitions.
In addition, Trump administration officials have said ending the restrictions would be a relief for U.S. airlines, which have seen international travel drop 70%, according to the industry.
Much like the United States, Europe and Brazil have seen new peaks in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, and several European countries and US states have once again adopted restrictions in an attempt to contain a new wave of the disease which has already killed more than 2 millions of people in the world.
Trump banned foreigners from China from entering the United States on January 31, 2020, still at the start of the pandemic, when the Asian country was the epicenter of the health crisis. The following month, he added Iran to the list and, in March, extended the restrictions to people in the Schengen zone, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
At that time, the White House was already assessing the pandemic situation in Brazil, and the decision to ban the entry of people who have crossed the country has been publicly considered on several occasions by Trump.
Although he has avoided publicly criticizing President Jair Bolsonaro, Trump has spoken of the health crisis in Brazil with seriousness and concern. The Brazilian president has been one of the few leaders in Latin America – and the world – to downplay the severity of Covid-19.
The restriction on the entry of travelers from Brazil was finally imposed at the end of May. Since then, only US citizens or foreigners permanently resident in the US have been allowed to enter the country if they had passed through Brazil within the past 14 days, with a few exceptions released by the US government .
While the European bloc still restricts the entry of Americans, the UK and Ireland are asking for two weeks of isolation. Brazil has no restrictions for those arriving from the United States.