White House Weighs Reopening Travel With Europe Despite Spike
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The White House has held multiple discussions on reopening travel to the U.S. from the U.K. and other European countries and Brazil, even amid a surge in coronavirus cases, according to people familiar with the matter.
Aides — including officials from the National Security Council, National Economic Council and coronavirus task force — have been weighing the limited reopening while keeping in place restrictions on travel from China and Iran, said the people, who discussed the deliberations on condition of anonymity.
No formal recommendations have been made to President Donald Trump, according to the people, as virus cases spike in the U.K. and other parts of Europe. If the plan is approved, it would reverse travel limits Trump imposed earlier this year as the virus slammed Europe and Asia.
The discussions come even as coronavirus cases and deaths reach historic highs inside the U.S. More than 15 million people have been infected and around 289,000 people have died, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The daily death toll in the U.S. from COVID-19 surpassed 3,000 for the first time on Dec. 9.
At the same time, many European countries have faced a similar surge in cases, forcing them to reinstitute public health measures to contain the spread.
Travel curbs are unlikely to be relaxed on China and Iran, both of which have contentious relationships with Trump. Trump has railed against Beijing over the pandemic, which is thought to have originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. And tensions with Iran have persisted throughout Trump’s presidency after he backed out of an international accord aimed at reining in the country’s nuclear program.
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