22:28 GMT04 March 2021
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    The administration of US President Joe Biden is contemplating imposing domestic travel restrictions, as COVID-19 variants, like the strain detected in the UK, known as B.1.1.7, surge in states including Florida. So far, the COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 27 million people in the US.

    On Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), called the Biden administration’s consideration of a travel ban due to the surge of new COVID-19 variants “hypocritical.”

    "The day after Donald Trump issued a travel ban on China, Joe Biden said this is no time for xenophobia and that sort of thing," Rubio told Fox & Friends. "And then a month later, [Biden] actually tweeted out that banning travel from anywhere did not work,” Rubio added.

    Rubio criticized the administration for considering travel restrictions within US states.

    "So now that they're considering actual restrictions on Americans inside the country, I think it is unconstitutional. I think it's going to be challenged in court successfully,” he argued.

    Last month, White House press secretary Jen Psaki stated that it was unfair to suggest that Biden described Trump’s COVID-19 travel ban as “xenophobic.”

    "I don't think that's quite a fair articulation," Psaki told Fox News' Peter Doocy, the outlet reported.

    "The president has been clear that he felt the Muslim ban was xenophobic. He overturned the Muslim ban. He also, though, has supported steps, travel restrictions, in order to keep the American people safe, to ensure that we are getting the pandemic under control. That's been part of his policy, but he was critical of the former president for having a policy that was not more comprehensive than travel restrictions,” she added.

    COVID-19 outbreaks in the US involving new variants, including a highly-contagious one first identified in the UK and others identified in South Africa, have compelled the Biden administration to consider imposing new travel restrictions within the US, a federal official revealed this week.

    “There are active conversations about what could help mitigate spread here, but we have to follow the data and what’s going to work. We did this with South Africa, we did this with Brazil, because we got clear guidance,” one White House official said, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

    “But we’re having conversations about anything that would help mitigate the spread,” the official added.

    Last month, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, revealed that rolling out COVID-19 vaccines quickly is key to reduce the spread of COVID-19 variants.

    "Getting people vaccinated as quickly and as efficiently as you possibly can will always be the best way to prevent the further evolution of any mutant,” Fauci said. “When you do that, you prevent replication, and replication is essential for mutation.”


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