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Biden to reverse Trump’s Covid rule change on president’s final day in office


US President-elect Joe Biden is to undo one of Donald Trump’s last actions in office by blocking his decree lifting Covid travel bans on visitors from much of Europe and Brazil.

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

Joe Biden will take office at 12:00 (17:00 GMT) on Wednesday. However, much of the spotlight is on  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.

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 Biden takes office.

Just minutes later, 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”.

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 Biden for the traditional pre-inauguration meeting at the White House.

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