US President Donald Trump has announced new travel restrictions between Europe and the US, in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Travellers who have been in any of 26 countries within the Schengen border-free travel area, within 14 days of their travel to the US, will be denied entry as of 2359 Eastern Daylight Time on Friday March 13.
The countries in question are: 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 ban does not apply to US residents, and the UK is not affected, nor is Ireland nor a number of other non-Schengen European countries.
In a Presidential proclamation Trump said:
“The World Health Organization has determined that multiple countries within the Schengen Area are experiencing sustained person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
“The Schengen Area currently has the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of the People’s Republic of China. As of March 11, 2020, the number of cases in the 26 Schengen Area countries is 17,442, with 711 deaths, and shows high continuous growth in infection rates. In total, as of March 9, 2020, the Schengen Area has exported 201 COVID-19 cases to 53 countries. Moreover, the free flow of people between the Schengen Area countries makes the task of managing the spread of the virus difficult.
“The United States Government is unable to effectively evaluate and monitor all of the travellers continuing to arrive from the Schengen Area. The potential for undetected transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the Schengen Area threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security.
Given the importance of protecting persons within the United States from the threat of this harmful communicable disease, I have determined that it is in the interests of the United States to take action to restrict and suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of all aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.
“The free flow of commerce between the United States and the Schengen Area countries remains an economic priority for the United States, and I remain committed to facilitating trade between our nations.”
The proclamation said that the ban “shall remain in effect until terminated by the President” – in a tweet Trump said that it would last for 30 days.
Business Traveller will update this article throughout the day, as more information becomes available and as the impact of the ban on airlines becomes clearer.
Read Business Traveller’s latest coverage of how coronavirus is impacting the aviation and hotel industry.