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People waiting at the international terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Airlines and other travel-related industries are urging the Biden administration to develop a plan by May 1 to reopen the country to international visitors.

Why it matters: Travel and tourism were hit hard by the pandemic, with 5.6 million travel-supported jobs lost in 2020, and a $1 trillion hit to the U.S. economy, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Without a rebound in international travel, a broader economy recovery could stall.

What's happening: A coalition of travel and aviation groups released a letter Monday urging the White House “to partner with us to develop ... a risk-based, data-driven roadmap to rescind inbound international travel restrictions.”

  • Citing favorable trends in infections and hospitalizations, along with rising vaccination rates, travel officials say it's time to plan a safe reopening.
  • If inbound travel resumes by July 4, and averages 40% of 2019 levels for the remainder of this year, it would accelerate the U.S. economic recovery by adding $30 billion in incremental spending and bringing back 225,000 American jobs, the groups say.

They want to maintain other core public health protections, like mask requirements and physical distancing, as well as COVID-19 testing required for arriving passengers.

  • "However, the data and science demonstrate that the right public health measures are now in place to effectively mitigate risk and allow for the safe removal of entry restrictions."

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Driving the news: Local police responded to a 911 call at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, about an hour after the synagogue's 10 a.m. CST Shabbat services, which were being livestreamed on Facebook.

  • The FBI's Dallas Field Office, including crisis negotiators, and Texas Department of Public Safety then spent the next 10-plus-hours working alongside local authorities to resolve the standoff with Akram.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted around 9:30 p.m. CST, "Prayers answered. All hostages are out alive and safe."

"Around 9 p.m., the HRT — hostage rescue team — breached the synagogue, they rescued the three [remaining] hostages, the suspect is deceased," Miller said. One of the hostages had been released earlier on Saturday.

  • Matt DeSarno, the special agent in charge at the FBI's Dallas Field Office, said Saturday night that the suspect was focused on "one issue that was not specifically threatening to the Jewish community."
  • According to Texas Department of Public Safety, the suspect said he wanted to see Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, who is serving an 86-year sentence nearby. Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 for assaulting U.S. federal agents, employees and nationals in Afghanistan.

"We strongly condemn the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX," Siddiqui's attorney Marwa Elbially, said in a statement earlier on Saturday, per CNN. "We implore the hostage taker to immediately release all hostages and turn himself in."

  • "We want to verify that the perpetrator is NOT Dr. Aafia's brother who is a respected architect and member of the community. Whoever the assailant is, we want him to know that his actions are condemned by Dr. Aafia and her family," the statement continued.

What they're saying: "This was an act of terror," President Biden said on Sunday, according to pool reports. The president also said he would be speaking with Rabbi Cytron-Walker.

  • "There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage taker. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate—we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country," the president said in a statement on Saturday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker
6 hours ago - Sports

Novak Djokovic loses Australian visa appeal

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening, facing a three-year visa ban after an appeals court in the country revoked his visa.

Driving the news: Djokovic will not be able to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts in Melbourne. The World No. 1 is looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.