The European Union is considering a travel ban against residents of the U.S. due to the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The list of banned countries is still being finalized and is expected to be submitted to the 27 bloc members next week. The intention is to have it filed ahead of its planned re-opening on July 1, according to The New York Times.
Under the E.U.'s current plans, the U.S. would join Brazil and Russia on the list of forbidden countries, given that all three countries have had comparably inadequate responses to the outbreak when compared to other developed countries. The report also indicates that travel from China, as well as some developing countries, would be allowed. Members of the union are being actively encouraged to adopt it, or there may be stricter border controls within the block of countries. The idea there is to prevent travelers from countries on the list from entering into one nation with looser restrictions before crossing over into one with stricter enforcement.
As of Tuesday, Johns Hopkins University reports that there have been more than 2.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., with more than 120,000 deaths. While the U.S. is now the epicenter of the outbreak, Brazil is slightly behind with 1.1 million cases and more than 51,000 deaths. Russia fares somewhat better, but still reports nearly 600,000 cases and roughly 10,000 reported deaths. Several U.S. states have reported a sharp spike in cases, which have come after states began relaxing their stay-at-home provisions and began re-opening businesses.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, said that he was "cautiously optimistic" that a vaccine would be available in late 2020 or early 2021, which could be critical to containing the outbreak. "We've been hit badly," Fauci told a House committee on Tuesday, adding that he is "really quite concerned" about the rising case numbers in some states. He also addressed the president's recent claim that he ordered a slowdown of testing, saying simply "we will be doing more testing" in the weeks ahead.
Trump had made the claim during his meme-inspiring rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Sunday, and later attempted to clarify it on Tuesday. "By having more tests, we find more cases," Trump told reporters. He also claimed that the U.S. has done "way more" testing than "other countries — big countries," which has made the U.S. look bad by comparison. "The reason we have more cases than other countries is because our testing is so much."