Pompeo says US working with EU to resume travel amid spike in COVID-19
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said the U.S. is working with European allies on how to safely resume international travel, following reports that the European Union would not open its borders to American travelers over fear of the high coronavirus case count in the U.S.
“We’ve been working with countries all across the world, including our friends in Europe and the E.U. proper, to determine how it is we can best safely reopen international travel,” Pompeo said in a briefing with reporters at the State Department.
“It’s important for the United States to get Europeans the capacity to travel back to the United States, it’s important, very important for the Europeans to fully reconnect with the American economy as well,” he said.
Pompeo added that, “We certainly don’t want to reopen a plan that jeopardizes the United States from people traveling here and we certainly don’t want to cause problems anyplace else.”
The secretary’s statements follow reports in The New York Times and by NBC News that the European Union was considering leaving the U.S. off a list of countries whose citizens would be allowed to enter the 27-nation bloc.
A briefing among E.U. member states highlighted the risk of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., NBC news reported, citing a 14-day recording of 107 positive cases per 100,000 people compared to the European count of 16 cases per 100,000 people over the same time period.
The U.S. recorded a spike in the number of new infections on Tuesday, with 34,700 new cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus resource center. The number rivaled previous high tallies that occurred April 9 and April 24.
Spikes in cases are being seen in states that are relaxing lockdown measures, like Arizona, Florida, Texas and California.
The U.S. has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, with more than 2.3 million cases, and is followed by Brazil, Russia and India, according to the latest numbers by the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus resource center.
President Trump in March banned travel to the U.S. by citizens of the E.U. in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus at that time, and reportedly without consulting European officials.