US president Donald Trump has announced plans to temporarily halt all immigration to the USA, as the country grapples with the coronavirus epidemic.

It is unclear what, if any, immediate impact the move will have on international airlines, which are largely unable to fly to the country at the moment due to Covid-19-related travel restrictions and border closures.

In a message posted on Twitter on 20 April, the president wrote that he would sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the country. He said he was taking the step “in light of the attack from the invisible enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs” of American citizens.

No further details have been disclosed as to how or when the suspension would take effect.

IATA does not expect any immediate impact on airlines. The trade association says: “Details have yet to be released following President Trump’s announcement on suspending immigration. But at present any such move would have no immediate impact as US borders are effectively closed to international visitors.”

The USA has more than 42,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Centre, significantly more than any other country