Shelagh Fogarty 1pm - 4pm
Joe Biden ignores Donald Trump's attempts to relax Covid travel ban
19 January 2021, 05:46
Donald Trump has said he will be relaxing Covid travel restrictions from the UK, Europe and Brazil after he leaves office - a move his successor Joe Biden said will be overruled.
The outgoing US President said the abandonment of the travel ban - introduced in March because of the coronavirus pandemic - would be implemented from 26 January, almost a week after his term in the Oval Office has come to an end.
If instated, the lifting of the ban would come into force the same day anyone flying into the US needs to show proof of either a negative test or that they have recovered from the virus.
In a statement on the matter, Trump said the decision was mad on the advice of his health secretary, saying it would allow "travel to resume safely" while still "protecting Americans from Covid-19".
The ban would still remain in place for travellers from China and Iran, because they didn't share "timely, accurate" information.
But Mr Biden, who will be inaugurated tomorrow afternoon and will be able to overturn Trump's order, immediately said these lifting of restrictions will not be put in place.
His spokesperson Jen Psaki tweeted: "On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26".
She added he instead "plans to strengthen public health measures around international travel".
The move from Biden is likely to infuriate Trump, who has still publicly maintained that he won the election, despite his own Vice President Mike Pence certifying his rival's win.
Trump has decided to break with tradition and is refusing to attend Biden's inauguration, becoming the first modern President to do so. Melania Trump has also refused to show incoming First Lady Jill Biden around the White House living quarters, a tradition in the handing over of the position.
Trump last week became the first US President in history to be impeached for a second time over his involvement in riling up a crowd of his supporters before they attacked the Capitol in Washington DC.
Five people - including a police officer - were killed in the riots.
Elsewhere, on Monday, Mr Biden's inauguration ceremony dress rehearsal was paused and evacuated after a fire in a nearby homeless encampment triggered a security alert.
The US Capitol complex in Washington DC was temporarily locked down on Monday after the blaze, roughly one mile away, sent plumes of smoke into the air.
Local firefighters responded swiftly and put out the fire, with law enforcement officials declaring there was no threat to the public or the rehearsal.
Attendees of the practice ceremony were evacuated from the West Front of the Capitol following an order by the acting chief of Capitol Police.
People involved in the walk-through said security officials yelled: "This is not a drill". However, the lockdown was lifted roughly an hour later.
President-elect Biden and other VIPs who are attending Wednesday's ceremony were not present in the trial run.