CDC Issues New COVID-19 Pandemic Public Health Order Concerning Foreign Visitors

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a public health order suspending the right for individuals to enter the U.S. who are not citizens and are coming from countries where “a quarantinable communicable disease exists.”

The order which went into effect on Monday is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on Thursday. In the order, the CDC detailed new restrictions on foreign travel across United States borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which serves to both replace and supersede an October 2020 order titled the Order Suspending the Right to Introduce Certain Persons from Countries Where a Quarantinable Communicable Disease Exists.

The new regulation has been implemented as a result of “an assessment of the current status of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the situation in congregate settings where noncitizens seeking to enter the United States are processed and held.” All noncitizens are included within the order, with the exception of unaccompanied noncitizen children. If necessary, the order explained that exemptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The need for the Order will be reassessed every 60 days. It applies to all United States land and coastal borders.

The landscape of COVID-19 is currently worsening as a result of vaccination levels and the new variant of the virus, the Delta variant the CDC explained. Following a period of improvement in the pandemic due to vaccination efforts at the beginning of 2021, the Delta variant has now “driven a stark increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.” Between June 19 and July 28, 2021, COVID-19 cases increased 400% the order said. 

The complaint detailed that “upon reassessment of the current situation with respect to the pandemic and the situation at the U.S. borders, CDC finds an Order under 42 U.S.C. 265 for Single Adults and Family Units remains necessary at this time.” They further explained that there are measures that can be taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and if they are implemented well, they will consider lifting the restrictions.