The US is said to be close to lifting its 8-month travel ban for Europe, now that its own COVID-19 outbreak is far worse

Sinéad Baker
AP20325654958683
Travelers in a nearly empty terminal at Boston Logan International Airport on Friday. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
  • The White House is considering a removal of travel restrictions for most non-American citizens from Europe and Brazil, Reuters reported Wednesday.

  • President Donald Trump has not made up his mind, but the plan is supported by members of the White House coronavirus task force and other agencies, according to Reuters.

  • The US barred entry by most travelers from Europe in March as coronavirus infections surged there, but the US outbreak has now spent months as the world's most severe.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The White House is considering lifting its restrictions on inbound travel to the US from Brazil and most of Europe, Reuters reported early Wednesday.

The news comes with the US continuing to report the most daily coronavirus cases of any country.

Reuters cited five US government and airline officials saying an end to the ban was close.

It reported that the plan was supported by members of the White House's coronavirus task force and other federal agencies.

But it said that President Donald Trump had not yet decided whether he supported it. There is no clear date for when an easing might take place.

The US barred most travelers from Europe in March in an effort to contain the novel coronavirus, and it added Brazil in May.

But the US outbreak has spiraled since, and the US has now spent months as the country with the most virus cases and deaths in the world.

Not long after the US put its ban in place, much of Europe likewise restricted entry from the US.

More than 12.5 million people in the US have now been infected by the coronavirus, and more than 259,000 people have died from COVID-19. The US is in the middle of a third surge, recorded an all-time high in daily new cases.

Europe's case count rose rapidly in the past few months after the virus was brought under control over the summer. But the continent's cases have started falling after countries implemented lockdowns and new restrictions.

Here's how the US's outbreak looks:

Worldometer
The US's new daily coronavirus cases as of Tuesday. Worldometer

 

And here's the outbreak across Europe, where cases have started falling again:

Europe infections
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the EU/EEA and the UK as of Wednesday. ECDC

The still-high number of infections in Europe may prompt Trump to decide against lifting the ban, Reuters reported.

Under the current rules, non-US residents who have been in select European countries or Brazil over the past 14 days can't enter, though some travelers are considered exceptions.

Reuters reported that many officials said the ban on Europe and Brazil didn't make sense because travelers from other countries with similarly severe outbreaks were not barred from coming to the US.

The White House, the Department of Homeland Security and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not comment to Reuters about the possibility of lifting the ban.

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