By CBS3 Staff

WASHINGTON (CBS) — President Joe Biden will reinstate COVID-19 travel restrictions for non-U.S. travelers from South Africa, Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and 26 other European countries on Monday. Meanwhile, the president’s COVID-19 relief plan is sure to face Republican opposition in Congress.

A more contagious COVID-19 variant, first found in the U.S. and detected in more than 20 states, is raising new concerns.

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“We need to assume now that what has been circulating dominantly in the U.K. does have a certain increase in what we call virulence, namely the power of the virus to cause more
damage, including death,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Fauci says scientists are preparing to modify existing vaccines if more COVID mutations make it necessary.

“The best way to prevent the further evolution of these mutants is to vaccinate as many people as possible with the vaccines that we have currently available to us,” Fauci said.

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan includes hundreds of billions to speed up the sluggish vaccination effort, and money for struggling Americans.

“We need more action, and we need to move fast,” Biden said.

The proposal could face GOP challenges on Capitol Hill.

“Well, I think at this early stage, just having passed over $900 billion in relief, that before we were to pass a new program we need to understand where the money’s going, are these to individuals or entities that really need the help?’” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said.

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“Of course, we need the funding to get that vaccine distribution out there,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said. “We’ve got to stop messing around and get our economy going again. That’s what Joe Biden’s proposal is about.”

President Biden is invoking the wartime Defense Production Act to make more vaccines and he is aiming for 100 million inoculations in his first 100 days in office.

The CDC predicts the UK COVID-19 strain will be the dominant strain in the U.S. by March.

CBS News correspondent Nancy Chen reports.

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