United States bans travelers from Europe amid Coronavirus crisis

A Lufthansa A340 at Los Angeles Airport. Photo: © Eric Salard

The United States of America is suspending entry for travelers from Europe’s ‘Schengen Area’ amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

This was announced by US President Trump while addressing the nation on Wednesday evening.

The ban is taking effect on Friday at midnight, temporarily threatening the existence of many non-UK/Ireland transatlantic passenger flights. It will last for 30 days and include most European countries with exceptions including the United Kingdom and Ireland. In his speech, Trump added: “there will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings“, this applies to US nationals and legal permanent residents.

Suspended from entering the United States are only non-US nationals who have been to countries from the ‘Schengen Area’, which includes 23 European Union nations, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, within the past 14 days.

The President misspoke in his speech and accidentally said the restrictions also apply to cargo and “various other things”. This mistake was corrected by White House officials shortly after, who outlined that the ban only applies to human individuals. Trump later tweeted: “The restriction stops people not goods.

There currently are more than 1,000 confirmed Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the US, with the number expected to grow. In Europe, Italy is the country most affected by the virus disease, with more than 12,000 reported infections.

Update as of March 14: The United States has announced that the United Kingdom and Ireland will be added to the list of countries banned for travelers entering the US, effective on Monday at midnight.

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