Trump administration expands Europe travel restrictions to UK, Ireland

Tight restrictions on travel to the United States from most of Europe will be expanded to the United Kingdom and Ireland, Trump administration officials announced Saturday.

The restrictions taking effect at midnight Monday bar foreign nationals who have been in the U.K. or Ireland in the past 14 days, but that does not apply to U.S. citizens, according to acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf. The move is part of an expanding effort to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19.

U.S. citizens will be allowed into the United States, Wolf said. They will be subject to medical screening and medical questions when they arrive, and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days, he added.

Such restrictions and the uncertainty associated with the spread of the coronavirus have led to a sharp decline in demand in areas where the restrictions have already rolled out in China, Italy and the rest of Europe, prompting U.S. airlines to cancel flights en masse.

Delta already announced Friday that the airline would eliminate nearly all flying to continental Europe for the next 30 days, but that the airline would continue service to London.

Late Friday, Delta said it would operate one daily flight on routes including Atlanta-Amsterdam, Atlanta-London Heathrow and Atlanta-Paris, to provide customers access to destinations in Europe through partnerships with Air France, KLM and Virgin Atlantic and those carriers’ hubs.

Other routes Delta plans to continue operating are flights to London Heathrow from New York and to Amsterdam from Detroit.

The expansion of the travel restrictions will drive demand down for the flights to the U.K. and Ireland, and Delta said Sunday it would suspend its Detroit-London and New York-Dublin service.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is waiving change fees for travel to, from or through Europe, the U.K. and Ireland through May 31.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also voiced interest during the White House press conference in considering assistance for airlines, noting the effects of the travel restrictions on the carriers.

The travel restrictions do not apply to air cargo, Wolf said.