Last Updated: 14/03/2020

President Donald Trump has announced that he is suspending all flights to U.S from Europe except UK and Ireland for the next 30 days in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

“To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe,” Mr Trump said from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening.

He said the “strong but necessary” restrictions which will go into effect on Friday at midnight would not apply to the UK, which has 460 cases of the virus.

This travel order does not apply to US citizens.

This ban applies to the countries belonging to the 26-nation Schengen passport-free zone which include:

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, Switzerland, UK and Ireland.

The UK and Ireland had been exempted but Mr Trump said on Saturday: “They’ve had a little bit of activity, unfortunately.”

The total number of confirmed cases in the UK has reached 1,140, with 21 deaths – up from 11 on Friday.

 

On the travel ban, Lawrence Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University, tweeted: “most of Europe is as safe as US. This will have no impact on US … germs don’t respect borders”.

Earlier on Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the outbreak was a pandemic. This is defined as a disease that is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time.

WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases outside China had increased 13-fold in two weeks. He said he was “deeply concerned” by the “alarming levels of inaction”.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel, warned that up to 70% of the country’s population – some 58 million people – could contract the coronavirus. There have been nearly 1,300 cases so far.

Denmark – which has 514 confirmed cases, up 10-fold since Monday – is to close all schools and universities from Friday.

India suspended most visas for foreigners until 15 April and Guatemala banned European citizens from entering from Thursday.

Meanwhile, the UK is expected to switch to tactics aimed at delaying the spread of the virus rather than containing it.

Coronavirus Alert: Do not leave your home. Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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