President Donald Trump said Friday that the U.K. could be added to sweeping restrictions on travel for much of Europe, measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus.
The restrictions that Trump announced earlier this week and that take effect at midnight prohibit the entry of foreigners who have been in 26 European countries for 30 days. They currently exclude Great Britain and Ireland.
Trump made the remarks Friday as he declared a national emergency over the coronavirus pandemic. When asked by a reporter why the U.K. was exempt from the restrictions while cases rose there, the president replied: “That was recommended to me by a group of a professionals and we are looking at it based on the new numbers that are coming out. We may have to include them in the countries that we will, you can say ban or whatever it is during this period of time.” He added that the U.S. “may be adding a couple of others” but did not elaborate.
The new rules announced Wednesday sent airlines further into crisis and sowed chaos at airports as travelers scrambled to get back to the U.S. from Europe. Airlines this week announced deep cuts to their schedules through the summer — their most lucrative season — in a bid to cut costs as travel demand plummets.
The addition of the U.K. to the list could further hurt carriers on both sides of the Atlantic as they’re already impacted by the drop in ticket sales and a surge in cancellations.