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Biden promises answers on European travel ban ‘in the next several days’

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

President Joe Biden said Thursday he’ll soon be able to answer persistent questions about travel to the US from Europe after German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the matter in the Oval Office.

Biden said he brought in members of his Covid team when Merkel raised the question during their bilateral talks at a White House meeting on Thursday.

“It’s in process now,” Biden said, adding he’d be “able to answer that question … in the next several days.”

While Europe eased restrictions for American travelers last month, the US has maintained strict travel restrictions put in place under former President Donald Trump. Officials have said the spread of the Delta variant has put a hold on reopening the country to Europe.

Merkel said she’d received similar assurances from Biden in their meeting that he was looking into the matter.

“Before such a decision, one has to reflect,” Merkel said through a translator. “It’s not sensible to have to take it back after only a few days.”

She said she had “every confidence in the American Covid team.”

The Trump-era restrictions were put in place in March 2020, when many countries were shutting down their borders to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. The restrictions included the United Kingdom and the “Schengen” group of 26 mostly European Union countries that lie within an area stretching from Iceland to Greece.

CNN reported last month that Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were expected to commit to working to open up travel between the US and the UK, though travel to the US by British nationals who were in the UK within the previous 14 days is still forbidden.

This story has been updated with additional details Thursday.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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