Trump Suggests U.S. Could Soon Lift Coronavirus Travel Ban on Countries That Are 'Making Progress'

President Donald Trump has suggested that the U.S. could soon lift travel restrictions on countries that appear to be making progress in their efforts to combat the coronavirus.

Asked during a White House press conference in the Rose Garden on Tuesday whether the U.S. was considering lifting travel restrictions on European countries over the coming weeks, Trump did not shut down the possibility.

Noting that the U.S. had just imposed new restrictions on travelers who have been to Brazil, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, Trump said: "We'll be doing certain announcements on other countries including Europe, as we move along."

"And where they're making progress, we'll start to open it up, but only when they're making progress. They're making some good progress," he said.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. had banned entry of all foreign nationals who have traveled to China, Iran, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

On Tuesday, the U.S. government also imposed a new travel ban on Brazil, barring people who have been in the country within 14 days of seeking entry into the U.S. from entering America.

The travel ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or to most immediate family members of citizens and lawful permanent residents.

Trump did not expand on which countries might see travel restrictions lifted. He also did not provide any guarantee that restrictions would be lifted or provide any timeline for potential changes.

Instead, the president immediately shifted discussion to the U.S.'s progress on contending with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think we're making very good progress. We're making very good progress on the economy. The numbers are better than anybody would have anticipated," the president said. "And certainly, I think that's been reflected in the stock market, which had a very big day."

The president then said that the U.S. was in the process of what he called the "transition to greatness."

"We call it the 'transition to greatness,' and it really is. We're going to have a third quarter that's going to be good. We're going to have a fourth quarter that has the potential to be really good. And we're going to have the best year—one of the best years we've ever had next year. That's what we see," Trump said.

Newsweek has contacted the White House and the Department of Homeland Security for comment.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump makes remarks during an event on protecting seniors with diabetes, in the Rose Garden at the White House on May 26, 2020 in Washington, D.C. The president suggested the U.S. is considering lifting restrictions on countries that have made progress in their efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. Win McNamee/Getty