President Trump is reportedly planning to end the United States travel bans on Europe, the United Kingdom, and Brazil just as he is leaving the White House this week.
Two administration sources who were briefed on the issue told Reuters that Trump will sign an order ending the travel bans on the continent and Brazil, beginning January 26, despite the continuing Chinese coronavirus crisis. Trump first imposed the travel bans early last year to stop the spread of the virus.
Reuters first reported in November that the administration had been considering lifting the restrictions, imposed early last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after winning support from coronavirus task force members and public health officials.
The restrictions are set to end under a new proclamation from Trump the same day that new COVID-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors. The White House did not immediately comment.
The restrictions have barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe that allow travel across open borders.
The rescinding of the travel bans would come after a lobbying effort by U.S. airline corporations. In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, the group representing the airlines, Airlines for America, urged Trump to end the travel bans and instead impose mandatory coronavirus tests for international travelers to the U.S.
Reuters reported earlier this month:
Airlines for America, which represents American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other major carriers, also urged the Trump administration in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence “to move ahead with recommendations to rescind current entry restrictions on travelers from Europe, the United Kingdom and Brazil as soon as possible … concurrently with the testing program.”
“We believe a well-planned program focused on increasing testing of travelers to the United States will further these objectives in a much more effective way than the blanket travel restrictions currently in place,” the airlines’ letter said.
Trump’s travel bans have been considered by public health experts one of the most vital tools in slowing the spread of the virus. It is unclear whether President-Elect Joe Biden will rescind travel bans on China and Iran.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.