Coronavirus: Mike Pompeo sees US-EU travel breakthrough within weeks

Flight crew walk past thermal cameras at Los Angeles International Airport on June 23, 2020. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday (June 24) that he expected a solution "in the coming weeks" that would allow travel to restart between the United States and Europe.

Travel has been largely banned since March due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has hit the US and many European countries hard.

"We have to make sure that we have all of the elements in place to reopen travel between the EU and the United States," he said.

"We certainly don't want to reopen in a way that jeopardises the United States from people travelling here and we certainly don't want to cause problems anyplace else.

"I'm very confident that in the coming weeks, we'll figure that out."

He gave no further details on any timeline, adding that the US was working "to get the global travel back in place."

President Donald Trump banned travellers from most European states in the middle of March to try to slow the spread of the pandemic, as he also did with travellers from China, Iran and Brazil, as well as Mexico and Canada.

The EU also closed its own external borders, and wants to reopen them gradually from July 1.

European Union officials are yet to agree on who will be able to visit, with US residents potentially excluded from the first stage of re-opening, according to The New York Times.

The United States remains in the grip of the disease, with 120,000 deaths.

Several European leaders have said in recent weeks that reopening will be based of reciprocity.

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