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US President Donald Trump announces Europe travel ban

US President Donald Trump announces Europe travel ban

US President Donald Trump has announced a travel ban amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

The restrictions announced later on Wednesday we sill much of Europe banned from entering the United States, in a bid to prevent the further spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

President Trump accused Europe of spreading the "foreign virus" on to the U.S and said Europe had "failed to take the same precautions [as the U.S.] and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe." There are 1,135 confirmed cases of the virus throughout the United States so far, with 38 deaths reported.

The ban, which is initially expected to last for 30 days, will go into effect from 11:59 pm eastern time this Friday. Flights from the 26 European countries in the Schengen zone will be banned, however, the UK and Ireland are not included in the ban. The ban applies to anyone who was in the Schengen Area during the 14 days before their attempted entry into the United States, so foreign nationals are unlikely to be able to reach the United States via the UK.

The full list of countries impacted includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Speaking from the Oval Office last night, President Trump said;

‘To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe’.

‘We made a lifesaving move with early action on China’ he added. ‘Now we must take the same action with Europe’.

Mr Trump also signed a Presidential Memorandum on Wednesday on making general use face masks available to healthcare workers (cover photo).

The travel restrictions are designed to impact people only, not cargo and trade. US citizens, permanent residents and their families are all excluded from the ban, as are health professionals involved in international efforts to combat the virus, diplomats and sea or aircrew.

It is unknown whether those booked onto flights to the United States from the Schengen Area will be able to receive compensation. Generally, airlines do not have to pay compensation if the reasons for a flight being cancelled are beyond their control - in this case, it would be in control of the United States administration. Those due to travel are advised to contact their airline.

Multiple countries and airlines had already suspended flights to certain destinations, including China and Italy who are worst affected by the pandemic. Malta has banned travel with Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus on the Mediterranean island.

A COBRA meeting is being held in the UK today to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understood that the UK may enter the 'delay' phase of responding to the outbreak, but it is thought a travel ban similar to the one announced by the United States is unlikely.

 

Photo: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday. | Credit: Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

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