The Biden administration faces an April 18 deadline on whether to extend or end a mandate requiring travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and in transit hubs.

Italy on April 1 began to phase out the country’s COVID-19 restrictions, ending a state of emergency public authorities declared more than two years ago that allowed it to bypass bureaucracy and swiftly impose rules via decrees.

Hong Kong reported more than 20,000 new coronavirus cases on March 18 as health experts called for a clear way out of a “zero COVID” policy that has left the city isolated.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) proposed more than 900 civil penalty fines and 2,700 warning notices against maskless passengers since February 2021, a government report issued March 14 said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) late on March 10 said some 98 percent of the U.S. population live in locations where COVID-19 levels are low enough that people do not need to wear masks indoors.

President Joe Biden’s administration will extend requirements for travelers to wear masks on airplanes, trains and in transit hubs through April 18 as public health authorities review when mask requirements should be dropped, an administration official told Reuters.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on February 25 dramatically eased its COVID-19 guidelines for masks, including in schools, a move that means 72% of the population reside in communities where indoor face coverings are no longer recommended.

Shares of U.S. airlines and other travel-related companies fell on December 27 as rising Omicron cases and weather-related problems forced the cancellation of hundreds more flights, leaving travelers stranded across the country during the holidays.

Oil fell on December 27 after U.S. airlines called off thousands of flights over the Christmas holidays amid surging Covid-19 infections, and China’s cases edged higher as Xian tightened curbs on travel within the city on the fifth day of a lockdown of its 13 million people.

U.S. airlines canceled more than 1,300 flights on December 26 as COVID-19 thinned out the number of available crews, while several cruise ships had to cancel stops after outbreaks on board, upending the plans of thousands of Christmas travelers.