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President Trump Issues Proclamation Banning Travel to the US from 26 European Countries

President Trump Issues Proclamation Banning Travel to the US from 26 European Countries

President Trump has banned all foreign travellers from 26 European countries entering the United States over fears the COVID-19 Coronavirus risked the “national security” of the United States. The ban will start on Friday and will last for at least 30-days. The so-called Presidential Proclamation will apply to all European countries in what is known as the Schengen area.

The Schengen area allows unrestricted, border-free travel between most European countries and 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.

The list of banned countries does not currently include the United Kingdom because the country never joined the Schengen area. It’s unclear whether the UK will see a similar ban in the coming hours or days.

President Trump has previously banned foreign nationals who had been in either China or Iran entering the United States. Both bans remain in force.

Explaining his rationale, the president told the American people in a televised address that the authorities needed to stem the influx of COVID-19 cases because sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus in the U.S. would “overwhelm” the country’s public healthcare system.

“The World Health Organization has determined that multiple countries within the Schengen Area are experiencing sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2,” President Trump said.

“…the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.”

This major new travel ban will not apply to spouses, parents and siblings under the age of 21-years old, and children of a lawful U.S. permanent resident. Crew members are also excluded from the proclamation.

“Protecting the American people from threats to their safety is the most important job of the President of the United States. The actions President Trump is taking to deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in affected areas will keep Americans safe and save American lives” explained Department of Homeland Security acting secretary Chad F. Wolf.

Wolf said that U.S. citizens returning from Schengen area countries would soon be required to fly into the United States through designated airports.

Airlines in the region are still coming to terms with this drastic measure. Lufthansa said it was “assessing the impact” of the travel ban and only yesterday it said it planned to cancel 23,000 flights because of a massive slump in demand.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on Wednesday but continues to discourage the use of travel bans being implemented by a number of countries.

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