Despite the troubling number of Americans traveling domestically this week amid the CDC’s warnings to stay home, the U.S. may soon open its borders to international travelers from Brazil and many European countries.

By Rachel Chang
November 25, 2020
travelers wearing face masks seen at Regan National Airport
Credit: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty

The United States may be lifting bans on non-U.S. citizens who were recently in Brazil, Britain, Ireland, and the 26 Schengen European nations, which include France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, an exclusive report from Reuters this morning says

According to the news service, who spoke to five separate U.S. and airline sources, the plan is moving forward with approval from the White House’s coronavirus task force, as well as other public health and federal agencies, but still needs final approval from the president. The potential plan would still prohibit those who have been in China and Iran.

The news — which is seen as a move to help airlines who have seen a 70.8-percent drop in international passengers — comes as Americans are being warned against Thanksgiving travel by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because of the continuing spike in coronavirus cases across the nation. 

The nation’s top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has already been saying that the U.S. will see a “surge superimposed upon a surge,” after this week’s holiday travel, which has seen record numbers of passengers take to the sky since the coronavirus pandemic started spreading in March. 

Despite the warnings about the dangers of this week’s domestic travel, the Reuters report says that the plan to allow more international travel is on track, though there is no timeline or a definitive decision yet. 

Currently, non-U.S. residents who have been in those foregin countries in the previous 14 days are not allowed to enter the country unless they are in certain categories, which include “humanitarian travel, public health response, and national security.” Some business travelers, journalists, students, and investors and academics have also been allowed to enter, the report says. Before September, international travelers also had to come into the U.S. through 15 designated airports and were subjected to enhanced screening. 

That said, the feeling isn’t reciprocal. As of now, the bulk of European nations aren’t allowing U.S. citizens to enter, with the exceptions being Ireland and England, where Americans can go, if they quarantine. England will soon be shortening the required self-isolation period from 14 days to five days. Officials tell Reuters the plans seem to be on a forward-moving trajectory. “Conversations are ongoing between the federal government, international partners, and industry stakeholders on these matters,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Transportation Department told the outlet.