Trump decree on Covid visiting rules rebuffed as he enters final day


US President-elect Joe Biden has moved to dismiss a new White House decree on Covid travel rules, as Donald Trump enters his final full day in office.

In one of his last orders, Mr Trump had tried to end travel bans for visitors from much of Europe and Brazil.

Mr Biden’s spokeswoman said now was not the time to be easing travel measures.

Joe Biden will take office at around midday on Wednesday, although much of the spotlight is on Mr Trump’s final moves, including presidential pardons.

Security is intense in Washington DC ahead of the inauguration ceremony. Thousands of National Guard reserve soldiers have been deployed in the wake of the storming of the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob on 6 January that left five people dead.

The FBI had earlier warned of possible protests across the nation by right-wing extremists emboldened by the invasion.

Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, are expected to travel to Washington from their home in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday.

What was the Trump decree about?

The US imposed travel restrictions on Europe last March and the Brazilian entry ban was put in place in May, but the White House decreed on Monday that the entry ban would end on 26 January, six days after Mr Biden takes office.

Just minutes later, Mr Biden’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said on Twitter: “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.”

She said that with “more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel”.

What else might Trump do on his final full day?

Barred from Twitter following the Capitol riots, the president has been uncharacteristically quiet and there have been few details of what he might do on Tuesday.

A statement from the White House press office read simply: “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening. He will make many calls and have many meetings.”

There has been no invitation to Joe Biden for the traditional pre-inauguration meeting at the White House.

Mr Trump still contests the election he fought with Mr Biden, although he has pledged a transition of power.

The main focus will be on presidential pardons, with US media suggesting a list of some 100 people is being considered.

The New York Times said some could be of criminals whose cases have been championed by justice activists.

More controversial names include Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Mr Trump’s former adviser Stephen Bannon.


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