Trump considers canceling domestic flights to coronavirus hot spots

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the daily coronavirus response briefing as U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper listens at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was considering a plan to halt flights to U.S. coronavirus hot spots as the United States struggles to contain a pandemic projected to kill at least 100,000 people.

“We’re certainly looking at it, but once you do that you really are clamping down an industry that is desperately needed,” Trump told a White House news briefing.

Such a plan might conceivably shut down traffic at airports in hard-hit New York, New Orleans and Detroit.

“We’re looking at the whole thing,” Trump said of curtailing domestic flights already greatly reduced as demand has fallen.

On Tuesday, Trump and physicians advising him said between 100,000 and 240,000 people in the United States are likely to die from the virus in coming weeks even if Americans adhere closely to stay-at-home guidelines for April.

Trump said he would meet with major U.S. oil company executives on Friday. A drop in gasoline prices, prompted by a global glut, has put pressure on the oil companies.

Trump has sought to reduce the number of migrants entering the country from Latin America, but said on Wednesday he recognizes the United States needs migrant workers traditionally allowed into the country to work the farms.

“I have given a commitment to the farmers that they are going to continue to come,” he said.

Reporting By Jeff Mason, Steve Holland and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler and Howard Goller

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