President Donald Trump on Monday lifted a ban on travelers arriving from much of Europe and Brazil, effective from January 26, after the US recently announced all incoming air passengers will need a negative Covid-19 test before departure.
"This action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from COVID-19 while enabling travel to resume safely," Trump said in a statement released by the White House.
The restrictions are set to end under a new proclamation from Trump the same day that new COVID-19 test requirements take effect for all international visitors.
The restrictions have barred nearly all non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ireland and the 26 countries of the Schengen area in Europe that allow travel across open borders.
The US restrictions barring most visitors from Europe have been in place since mid-March, while the Brazilian entry ban was imposed in May.
The Trump administration imposed the bans in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention signed an order requiring nearly all air travelers to present a negative coronavirus test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 to enter the United States starting on Jan. 26.
Airlines had hoped the new testing requirements would clear the way for the administration to lift the restrictions that reduced travel from some European countries by 95 percent or more.
They pressed senior White House officials about the issue in recent days.
Reuters previously reported the White House was not considering lifting entry bans on most non-US citizens who have recently been in China or Iran.
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