Looking for ways to stop the further spread in the United States of the Coronavirus, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he was considering a plan to limit flights between certain cities which have been virus hotspots, but shrugging off the broader idea of halting all travel in the U.S. by air or rail.
"I am looking at hotspots," the President said at his daily Coronavirus briefing at the White House. "I am looking where flights are going into hotspots."
But pressed by reporters about a broader ban on travel - whether airlines or trains - the President indicated that did not seem to be one of his likely choices.
"Closing up every single flight on every single airline, that's a very, very rough decision," Mr. Trump added.
"We have trains going back and forth, and people don't think of trains," the President noted. "It's a very big decision to do that (close them down)."
“I am looking at hot spots … but closing up every single flight and every single airline, that’s a very, very, very rough decision,” Trump says when asked if he is considering a temporary ban on all domestic flights.— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 1, 2020
“We’ll let you know fairly soon.” https://t.co/ZKIWG8SBC7 pic.twitter.com/gRTuu3wvq2
The issue of restrictions on airline travel comes at a time when the U.S. airline industry is seeing record low traffic, as airlines have grounded passenger jets and reduced flights.
Data released by the Transportation Security Administration shows a gigantic drop in the number of air travelers going through security at America's airports since the virus outbreak began, as many flights are operating with just a few passengers on board.
"When you start closing up entire transportation systems, and then opening them up, that's a very tough thing to do," the President said.
TSA checkpoint travel numbers for March 2019 and March 2020— michaelbloem (@michaelbloem) April 1, 2020
down by more than an order of magnitude by the end of the month!
(thanks to my colleague Jason for making the plot)#COVID19 https://t.co/hzF8iNd48v pic.twitter.com/Pl2eQyJlrA
As for when he would make a decision, the President indicated he would not wait too long.
"We will let you know fairly soon," Mr. Trump said Wednesday evening.