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Biden’s transition team seeks more internationally focused COVID-19 measures, including rejoining the WHO

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Tuesday morning, Joe Biden‘s transition team shared a link to their overall plan for combatting COVID-19, which seeks a more active role for the federal government in public health and the economy than it has during the Trump administration. Additionally, the plan aims to take a more multilateral approach in dealing with the virus than the current administration has, including rejoining the World Health Organization (WHO).

This comes after Biden announced on Monday a slate of individuals he’s nominating for economic roles in his incoming administration. His most notable picks include former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen for Treasury secretary, Neera Tanden for director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Cecilia Rouse for chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). His economic team, if successfully confirmed by the U.S. Senate, will play a vital role in leading the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

In sharing the link, the team tweeted that “President-elect Biden believes that the federal government must act aggressively to help protect and support our families, small businesses, first responders, and caregivers affected by COVID-19.”

Also part of Biden’s plan are measures to increase U.S. collaboration with other countries in fighting COVID-19. Notably, the document says that one goal is to “immediately restore our relationship with the World Health Organization, which—while not perfect—is essential to coordinating a global response during a pandemic.”

The WHO has come under intense scrutiny since the start of the pandemic, with critics saying that the organization mishandled the virus and has failed in condemning the Chinese government for lying to the world about the virus and censoring those in China who tried to inform the world about COVID-19. Biden has made public statements in the past where he has said that he wants the U.S. to rejoin the WHO.

Other internationally focused measures listed in the document are: expanding “the number of CDC’s deployed disease detectives so we have eyes and ears on the ground, including rebuilding the office in Beijing,” immediately restoring “the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense, originally established by the Obama-Biden administration,” and relaunching and strengthening the “U.S. Agency for International Development’s pathogen-tracking program called PREDICT.”

President Donald Trump has taken a mostly unilateral approach in fighting the virus during the pandemic, with him in October announcing that he was withdrawing the U.S. from the WHO. Furthermore, the president, who was already an aggressive critic of China before the pandemic, has been extremely vocal in his anger toward the country’s authoritarian government regarding COVID-19, having routinely referred to it as the “China virus.”

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Number of illegal migrants from China, mostly single males, surpassing those from Mexico in some areas

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that the total number of apprehensions from China at the conclusion of the 2023 fiscal year, was 24,048 persons, more than 10 times the 1,970 arrests recorded in 2022. Of the more than 140,000 Chinese nationals, mostly single males, who have illegally entered the United States since President Joe Biden took office, does not include persons who have evaded capture.

In one California border sector, where the majority are apprehended, CBP announced that between October and February, the 21,000 encounters with Chinese citizens surpassed the 18,700 Mexicans taken into custody.

Foreign Desk News explains that the migrants will typically fly to Ecuador, as there is no visa requirement, then pay guides to transport them to the U.S. border. Many of the transients will claim asylum on the basis that they are victims of the oppressive regime in Beijing.

The influx has caused concern in Washington over the possible national security implications, such as how on March 27, an unnamed Chinese individual was arrested for attempting to enter the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California, without identification.

The Wall St. Journal reported that unauthorized Chinese citizens, often posing as tourists, attempted to access or surveil sensitive U.S. military instillations more than 100 times in recent years.

Last summer, House Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-TN), announced that his committee had obtained evidence from the U.S. Border Patrol confirming that many of the detained, and later released per Biden administration policy, have ties to China’s People’s Liberation Army.

 

 

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