The White House is considering rescinding entry bans for most non-U.S. citizens who recently were in Britain, Ireland and 26 other European countries, five U.S. and airline officials told Reuters.
The Trump administration imposed the bans in a bid to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic. It is not considering lifting separate entry bans on most non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in China or Iran, the officials said.
The plan has won the backing of White House coronavirus task-force members, public health and other federal agencies, the people briefed on the matter said, but President Donald Trump has not made a final decision and the timing remains uncertain.
Many administration officials argue the restrictions no longer make sense given that most countries around the world are not subject to the entry ban. They contend lifting the restrictions would be a boost to struggling U.S. airlines, which have seen international travel fall by 70%, according to airline industry data.
Trump may still opt not to lift the restrictions, given the high number of coronavirus infections in Europe. One potential hurdle is the fact that European countries are not likely to immediately allow most Americans to resume visits, officials said.
Almost all of Europe still prohibits most American travelers from visiting, while Great Britain and Ireland allow Americans to visit but require a two-week quarantine upon arrival.
Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Robert Birsel.