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U.S. to require quarantine for all international travellers

Click to play video 'Biden aims to beef up COVID-19 vaccine distribution, testing' Biden aims to beef up COVID-19 vaccine distribution, testing
WATCH: Biden aims to beef up COVID-19 vaccine distribution, testing – Jan 21, 2021

Everyone travelling into the United States will soon be required to complete a quarantine upon arrival as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.

Read more: ‘Shameful’: U.S. coronavirus deaths surpass 400K as Trump leaves office

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an order mandating the change Thursday, one day after he was sworn into office. The new travel-specific order also requires masks on all airplanes as well as some other forms of public transportation.

Starting Jan. 26, all travellers into the U.S. will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test.

Click to play video 'What travellers need to know about pre-flight COVID-19 testing' What travellers need to know about pre-flight COVID-19 testing
What travellers need to know about pre-flight COVID-19 testing – Jan 21, 2021

With a burst of executive orders, Biden served notice Thursday that the nation’s COVID-19 response is under new management and he’s demanding progress to reduce infections and lift the siege Americans have endured for nearly a year.

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The 10 orders signed by Biden are aimed at jump starting his national COVID-19 strategy to increase vaccinations and testing, lay the groundwork for reopening schools and businesses, and immediately increase the use of masks. One directive calls for a addressing health care inequities in minority communities hard hit by the virus.

Read more: Biden strikes down Trump policies on coronavirus, climate on 1st day in office

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Biden introduces COVID-19 testing requirement for air travellers entering the U.S.' Coronavirus: Biden introduces COVID-19 testing requirement for air travellers entering the U.S.
Coronavirus: Biden introduces COVID-19 testing requirement for air travellers entering the U.S – Jan 21, 2021

“We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and it will take months to turn this around,” Biden said. “Despite the best intentions we’re going to face setbacks “ But he declared: “To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.”

Click to play video 'COVID-19: passengers welcome new U.S. travel restrictions: ‘Whatever I can do to do my part’' COVID-19: passengers welcome new U.S. travel restrictions: ‘Whatever I can do to do my part’
COVID-19: passengers welcome new U.S. travel restrictions: ‘Whatever I can do to do my part’ – Jan 22, 2021

 

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The new president has vowed to take far more aggressive measures to contain the virus than his predecessor, starting with stringent adherence to public health guidance. He faces steep obstacles, with the virus actively spreading in most states, slow progress on the vaccine rollout and political uncertainty over whether congressional Republicans will help him pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief and COVID response package.

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“We need to ask average Americans to do their part,” said Jeff Zients, the White House official directing the national response. “Defeating the virus requires a coordinated nationwide effort.”

Biden officials say they’re hampered by lack of cooperation from the Trump administration during the transition. They say they don’t have a complete understanding of their predecessors’ actions on vaccine distribution. And they face a litany of complaints from states that say they are not getting enough vaccine even as they are being asked to vaccinate more categories of people.

Click to play video 'Air Canada to include free COVID-19, quarantine insurance on some vacation packages' Air Canada to include free COVID-19, quarantine insurance on some vacation packages
Air Canada to include free COVID-19, quarantine insurance on some vacation packages – Sep 1, 2020

Biden acknowledged the urgency of the mission in his inaugural address. “We are entering what may well be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus,” he said before asking Americans to join him in a moment of silence in memory of the more than 400,000 people in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19.

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Biden’s top medical adviser on COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also announced renewed U.S. support for the World Health Organization after the Trump administration had pulled out of the global body. Fauci said early Thursday that the U.S. will join the U.N. health agency’s efforts to bring vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics to people in need, whether in rich or poor countries and will resume full funding and staffing support for WHO.

The U.S. mask order for travel being implemented by Biden will apply to airports and planes, ships, intercity buses, trains and public transportation. Travelers from abroad must furnish a negative COVID-19 test before departing for the U.S. and quarantine upon arrival. Biden has already mandated masks on federal property.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Dr. Fauci says Biden plan for 100 million vaccinations in 100 days ‘absolutely doable’' Coronavirus: Dr. Fauci says Biden plan for 100 million vaccinations in 100 days ‘absolutely doable’
Coronavirus: Dr. Fauci says Biden plan for 100 million vaccinations in 100 days ‘absolutely doable’ – Jan 17, 2021

Although airlines, Amtrak and other transport providers now require masks, Biden’s order makes it a federal mandate, leaving little wiggle room for passengers tempted to argue about their rights. It marks a sharp break with the culture of President Donald Trump’s administration, under which masks were optional, and Trump made a point of going maskless and hosting big gatherings of like-minded supporters. Science has shown that masks, properly worn, cut down on coronavirus transmission.

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Biden also is seeking to expand testing and vaccine availability, with the goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. Zients called Biden’s goal “ambitious and achievable.”

— With files from Global News

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