US President Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders to launch his administration, including a decision to keeping the United States in the World Health Organization, ending the ban on entries from mostly Muslim-majority countries and rejoin the Paris climate accord.
The orders signed on Wednesday included bolstering environmental protections, strengthening the fight against Covid-19 and a mask mandate for all federal buildings.
Also among the new directives was a halt to construction of the wall on the US-Mexico border, and efforts to expand diversity and equality for minority groups in the federal government.
These actions will be followed by dozens more in the next 10 days, aides said, as Biden looks to redirect the country without having to go through a Senate that Democrats control by the narrowest margin.
Biden told reporters in the Oval Office that there was “no time to waste”.
“Some of the executive actions I’m going to be signing today are going to help change the course of the COVID crisis, we’re going to combat climate change in a way that we haven’t done so far and advance racial equity and support other underserved communities,” he said, as reported by the Reuters news agency.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations welcomed the decision to end Muslim ban as “an important first step toward undoing the anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant policies of the previous administration”.
“It is an important fulfilment of a campaign pledge to the Muslim community and its allies,” the group’s executive director, Nihad Awad, said in a statement.