U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s team on Wednesday morning announced a number of executive actions he would take immediately after his inauguration later in the day.
The actions are aimed at “reversing the gravest damages of the Trump administration” and start moving the country forward, according to the document.
They include changing the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, stopping the U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and lifting the ban on travel from several Muslim-majority countries.
According to the fact sheet, Biden will issue an executive order that will require Americans to wear masks and maintain physical distancing up to 100 days.
The measure will immediately apply in all federal buildings and premises, and to all federal employees and contractors.
“He is also asking the Department of Health and Human Services and Centre for Disease Control to engage with state, local, tribal and territorial officials to implement masking,
physical distancing, and other CDC public measures to stop the spread of COVID-19,” the document said.
Noting that the WHO is critical to the fight against COVID-19, the team said Biden will immediately take action to re-engage with the organisation to make Americans and the world safer.
It said the Biden administration would participate in the WHO Executive Board meeting holding during the week.
“Once the U.S resumes its engagement with the WHO, the Biden-Harris administration will work with the WHO and our partners.
“This is to strengthen and reform the organisation, support the COVID-19 health and humanitarian response, and advance global health and health security,” the document added.
The U.S. withdrawal from the WHO was due to be effective on July 6.
The Donald Trump administration formally notified the UN of the move in July 2020, after the outgoing president accused the organisation of being “a puppet of China”.
Immediately after taking office, Biden will sign an Executive Order “putting an end to the Muslim Ban, a policy rooted in religious animus and xenophobia,” the document said.
It stated that the action would direct the State Department to restart visa processing for affected countries, and to ”swiftly develop a proposal to restore fairness and remedy the harms caused by the bans”.
“This is an important step in providing relief to individuals and families harmed by this Trump administration’s policy that is inconsistent with American values,” it said.
However, the action will strengthen the screening and vetting of travellers by enhancing information sharing with foreign governments and capacity building with U.S. partners.
The fact sheet said Biden will also on Wednesday sign an instrument for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
“The instrument will be deposited with the UN today, and the U.S. will officially become a Party again 30 days later.
“The U.S. will be back in position to exercise global leadership in advancing the objectives of the agreement,’’ it said.
Other executive actions expected on Wednesday will reverse Trump’s Border Wall construction and his executive order excluding undocumented immigrants from census, among others.
Biden will be sworn in at 12 noon local time (6 p.m. Nigerian time).