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



a group of people performing on a counter: Travelers walk through a nearly empty terminal at Boston's Logan Airport on November 20. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer


© AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Travelers walk through a nearly empty terminal at Boston’s Logan Airport on November 20. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

  • The White House is considering lifting the travel ban on non-US citizens coming from Europe and Brazil, Reuters reported.
  • President Trump has not made up his mind yet, but the plan is supported by members of the White House coronavirus task force and other agencies, according to Reuters.
  • The US barred entry to travellers from Europe in March as the outbreak surged there, but the US outbreak has now spent months as the world’s worst-affected country.
  • Currently, non-US residents who have been in European nations or Brazil in the previous 14 days can’t enter the US, though some travellers are considered exceptions.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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

It comes as the US’s coronavirus outbreak continues to be the worst in the world.

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

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

But it said that President Donald Trump has not yet decided whether he supports it. There is currently no date for when an easing may take place.

The US banned travellers from Europe in March in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, and added Brazil in May.

But the US outbreak has spiralled since, and the US has now spent months as the country with the highest number of virus cases and deaths in the world.

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

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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 it. The US is currently in the middle of a third surge, with its cases at an all-time high.

Europe’s cases rose rapidly in the last 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:



chart, histogram: The US's new daily coronavirus cases as of November 24. Worldometer


© Worldometer
The US’s new daily coronavirus cases as of November 24. Worldometer


 

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



The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the EU/EEA and the UK, as of November 25. ECDC


© ECDC
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the EU/EEA and the UK, as of November 25. ECDC

The lower infection rate in Europe may prompt Trump to decide against lifting the ban, Reuters reported.

Currently, non-US residents who have been in the European countries or Brazil over the last 14 days can’t enter, though there are some travellers that are considered exceptions.

Reuters reported that many officials say the ban on Europe and Brazil doesn’t make sense because travellers from other countries with similarly severe outbreaks are not banned from coming to the US.

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

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