US announces major new travel restrictions on Europe in bid to combat Coronavirus

12 March 2020


Comprehensive new travel restrictions on mainland Europe have been announced by US President, Donald Trump, in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus, now declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

However the US president said that the "strong but necessary" restrictions, which come into force at midnight tomorrow (Friday March 13) will not apply to the UK, which has 460 cases of the virus and has had ten deaths.

Only travellers from the 26 countries in the Schengen border-free travel will be barred, leaving several other European countries, including the UK and Ireland, unaffected. The ban does not apply to US citizens.

European and UK stock markets fell after the travel ban news at the start on trading today (Thursday March 12).

There are 1,135 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the US, with 38 deaths so far and President Trump has faced criticism to his response to the illness.

The ban will apply to anyone who has been in the EU's Schengen border-free area in the 14 days before their arrival in the US.

The Schengen area was created by The Schengen Agreement that abolished many of the EU's internal borders, enabling passport-free movement across most of the bloc. The agreement is named after the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, where the agreement was signed in 1985.

This is why the travel ban does not include the UK or Ireland although it will include the 26 European states.

The situation with regard to European-US trade remains uncertain. President Trump initially said the travel suspension would also "apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo" coming from Europe into the US but later tweeted to say that trade would "in no way be affected.”

However the proposed ban would still affect meetings, trade missions and attendance at trade exhibitions and conferences.

Donald Trump, who has faced criticism over his response to the virus, also announced plans to provide billions of dollars in loans to small businesses, and urged Congress to pass major tax relief measures in an attempt to stymie the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the economy.


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