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Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Four U.S. and European airlines are asking government leaders to begin a joint coronavirus testing program so that transatlantic travel can resume.

Why it matters: Flights between the U.S. and Europe are a huge source of profit for the airline industry, which has collapsed since the pandemic hit. But government restrictions effectively prevent all non-essential travel between the regions.

Driving the news: The CEOs of United Airlines, American Airlines, Deutsche Lufthansa and British Airways owner IAG Tuesday released a letter sent to Vice President Pence and Ylva Johansson, the European Union's commissioner for home affairs, pushing for the international testing effort.

What they're saying: “Given the unquestioned importance of transatlantic air travel to the global economy as well as to the economic recovery of our businesses, we believe it is critical to find a way to re-open air services between the U.S. and Europe,” they wrote.

  • Testing all passengers and crew would help boost public confidence without quarantine requirements or entry restrictions, the executives added in the letter.

Context: The EU currently bars visits of U.S. residents after relaxing a ban on nonessential travel from 15 countries with lower coronavirus infection rates, Bloomberg writes.

  • Britain requires that people arriving from the U.S. spend 14 days in self-imposed quarantine.
  • U.S. rules, meanwhile, essentially prevent travel by most Europeans.

Yes, but: It's not clear how routine rapid testing could be performed before boarding, or whether passengers would need to provide documentation of recent negative tests.

Go deeper: Air travel will never be the same after coronavirus

Go deeper

Oct 29, 2020 - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing" and the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus for the achievement, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Oct 29, 2020 - Health

Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus

Gen. David Thompson (L) at a Senate hearing on Capitol Hill in May. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Gen. David Thompson, the Space Force’s vice chief of space operations, is self-quarantining and working from home after testing positive for COVID-19, per a news release issued Wednesday evening.

The big picture: Officials are following guidelines that include contact tracing and quarantining, "if needed," said the statement, which didn't mention if any other military personnel had recent contact with Thompson. He took the test after a close family member tested positive for the virus. It comes three weeks after members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went into quarantine following Adm. Charles Ray's positive coronavirus test results.

Oct 28, 2020 - World

Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave

Paris under curfew. Photo: Kiran Ridley/Getty Images

The coronavirus is still winning: Now even Germany is entering another national lockdown, joined by France.

Why it matters: France has been "overpowered by a second wave,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a nationally televised address today. Macron said the "new wave will be stronger and deadlier" than the first.