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Biden COVID-19 Response Includes Travel Measures

National pandemic strategy expands testing and vaccine programs, aims to promote safe travel through mask mandates and enhanced testing

Hours after taking office, President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive actions as first steps to implementing his promised national COVID-19 strategy. Altogether the 10 executive orders and directives aimed at expanding testing, administering vaccines, advancing racial equity, and safely reopening schools and businesses.

Among the executive orders, one targeting travel requires mask-wearing in airports and on certain modes of public transportation, “including many trains, airplanes, maritime vessels, and intercity buses,” according to a White House statement.

The order also mandates that international travelers must produce proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior their departure for the US. This reiterates a CDC order that had already been issued and is set to go into effect Jan. 26 requiring all inbound airline passengers entering the country to show negative COVID-19 test results prior to boarding.

The executive order also requires incoming travelers to comply with CDC guidelines for self-isolation and self-quarantine upon arrival.

In addition, the measure also calls for the consideration of “additional public health measures in domestic travel and for consultation with foreign governments and other stakeholders to implement public health measures for safe travel, including at land and sea borders.”

The administration has also set a national target of 100 million vaccinations by the end of Biden’s first 100 days in office. Actions include using FEMA to stand up federally-supported vaccinations centers and making vaccines available in local pharmacies beginning next month.