Trump’s European travel ban explained – POLITICO

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday evening that he was imposing a travel ban to include much of Europe in an effort to prevent further spread of the new coronavirus.

Despite weeks spent minimizing the spread of the virus and with more than 1,000 cases in the United States already confirmed, Trump addressed the United States from the Oval Office in a prepared speech, taking a darker tone and telling Americans to be “very, very careful”.

Still sensitive to the stock market, Trump said in his speech that “this is not a financial crisis, it is only a temporary moment that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.” He was keen to stress that the travel ban is aimed at preventing people from coming to the United States, not goods, and that he hoped transatlantic trade would continue as before.

What is the rationale behind the travel ban?

The US president accused Europe of spreading the “foreign virus” to the United States. He said the bloc “did not take the same precautions” [as the U.S.] and restrict travel from China and other hot spots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States have been sown by travelers from Europe. “

A passenger wearing a protective mask arrives at Brussels airport | John Thys / AFP via Getty Images

Given the continued spread of the virus in Europe, Trump said action needed to be taken. “To prevent new cases from entering our shores, we will suspend all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” he said. It’s up to Trump to decide whether to suspend or end it. “This proclamation will remain in effect until it is denounced by the president,” reads the text of the ban.

When does the ban actually start and how long will it last?

The ban will begin Friday at 11:59 p.m. EST. Flights to the United States that are in flight at the time the restrictions come into effect will be allowed to land. The initial plan is for the ban to be in place for 30 days.

A general view shows a deserted terminal at Milan-Malpensa | Miguel Medina / AFP via Getty Images

Which countries are affected?

The 26 European countries of the Schengen area – Germany, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands , Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. It’s worth pointing out that the UK – despite over 400 cases (and virtually no social distancing restrictions in place to stop its spread) – and Ireland are not included in the ban.

Does that mean it’s okay to transit to the UK first and then take a transatlantic flight?

Only if your transit lasts more than two weeks. The ban applies to anyone – “all foreigners who were physically present in the Schengen area during the 14-day period prior to entering or attempting to enter the United States,” according to the decree.

A passenger arriving at Stockholm Arlanda Airport | Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP via Getty Images

Are there other reasons the UK and Ireland are excluded?

The UK and Ireland both happen to be home to Trump golf resorts. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is due to meet with Trump on Thursday, and that meeting is still scheduled.

Who is excluded from the ban?

U.S. citizens and permanent residents and their families, medical professionals who are part of international efforts to combat the spread of the virus, diplomats and air and sea crews.

Is freight affected?

Trump doesn’t want freight affected. “These bans will not only apply to the huge amount of trade and freight,” he said in his Address of the White House. He repeated the message on Twitter after the address. “It is very important that all countries and businesses know that trade will not be affected by the 30 day restriction on travel from Europe in any way,” he wrote. “The restriction stops people, not property.” The exemption from the ban for air and sea crew is intended to ensure the smooth flow of goods.

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