US travel bans were once a controversial aspect of Donald Trump’s Presidency, now vital as the coronavirus continues to sweep the world. The President has banned entry to the US from a swathe of countries, most in Europe, as COVID-19 shows no sign of abating.
How long is the US travel ban?
President Donald Trump imposed a raft of sweeping travel restrictions last Wednesday which prevents travel to the country from several European destinations.
The US travel ban will mean people from the 26 Schengen countries in the EU cannot land in any state but excepts returning citizens.
People from China, Iran, the UK, Ireland and Canada are also barred from entry.
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The US expects the travel ban to last for a total of 30 days, and the State Department has issued a level 4 travel warning urging people not to travel abroad.
Americans currently out of the country can still return, however.
Potentially thousands of US citizens are currently stranded abroad, and the government is working on ways to bring people back who cannot book a flight.
Those who can successfully return will come through one of the US’ 13 airports with enhanced screening facilities.
As foreign travel restrictions remain in place, the US government is also toying with a domestic travel ban.
However, further restrictions may prove unnecessary, as government advice to stay indoors and avoid other people has seen thousands of flights grounded.
American Airlines said on Thursday, March 19, it plans to cancel 55,000 flights next month, and warned demand could fall further in the coming weeks.
The airline, along with Delta, has grounded roughly half of its fleet, and an industry insider told CNN flights could come “close to zero”.
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They added US domestic air travel could see a “virtual shutdown” before Mr Trump can introduce any official measures.
Research from Skift, a US-based media research company, shows Americans have raced to cancel their flights in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
They found nearly half of 421 travelling Americans (46 percent) cancelled their flights on the week of March 9, compared to 19 and 12 percent in the weeks before.
Skift found 65 percent of those cancellations were for domestic travel, up from 42 percent two weeks previously.
Experts currently believe the current restrictions could last beyond 30 days in the US, potentially “several weeks”.
Speaking on NBC News’ Today live, Dr Anthony Fauci, an immunologist with the National Institutes of Health of the United States said: “If you look at the trajectory of the curves of outbreaks in other areas it’s at least going to be several weeks.
“I cannot see that all of a sudden next week or two weeks from now it’s going to be over.
“I don’t think there’s a chance of that – I think it’s going to be several weeks.”
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