In an executive order issued Monday evening, Trump said he had been advised to lift restrictions for European countries in the Schengen Zone, which consists of 26 countries, the UK, Ireland and Brazil but leave in place restrictions on travel from Iran and China.
“I agree with the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from COVID-19 while enabling travel to resume safely,” Trump wrote in the order, referring to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
President-elect Joe Biden is set to take over the presidency on Wednesday and his incoming press secretary, Jen Psaki, said that his administration would not lift the restrictions.
CNN has reached out to the White House Coronavirus Task Force as to whether the panel approved the anticipated move.
The combination of the testing program announced last week and lifting travel restrictions aligns with the interests of several airlines that have been in negotiations with the CDC and the White House. Earlier this month, a group of major airlines asked the Trump administration to broadly expand a program to test US-bound passengers and simultaneously lift travel restrictions.
Airlines for America — with members including American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines — wrote to Vice President Mike Pence asking the administration to implement “a global program to require testing for travelers to the United States.” Such a program would allow authorities to release restrictions on entering the US from the European Union, United Kingdom, and Brazil, the group wrote.
The potential travel restriction reversal would come as the Trump administration shifts on another element of the coronavirus response in the President’s final days in office.
A senior administration official told CNN that when the administration announced that it would be releasing reserved doses last Friday, many of those reserves had already been released into the system starting last year as production was ramping up.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen, Jessica Firger, Eric Levenson, Kristen Holmes and Sara Murray contributed to this report.