European Union Proposes Ban on Non-Essential Travel to Europe

17 Mars, 2020, 12:24 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • European Union Proposes Ban on Non-Essential Travel to Europe

"Essential staff such as doctors, nurses, care workers, researchers and experts that help address the coronavirus should continue to be allowed in the European Union", von der Leyen added.

A temporary travel restriction could only be effective if decided and implemented by Schengen States for all external borders at the same time and in a uniform manner, the statement said.

The ban would include citizens of European Union candidate countries.

The restrictions will be in place for an initial 30 days but this "can be prolonged as necessary".

"Why that? Because we think that non-essential travel should be reduced right now, too, in order not to spread the virus further, be it within the European Union or by leaving the European Union, but also to avoid non-essential travel to not have more potential strain on our healthcare system", she said at a news conference.

The commission chief said she was proposing to the EU's national leaders a "temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the European Union".

United States president Donald Trump had last week announced similar restrictions but without first telling anyone in Europe, widely seen as a snub.

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Long term residents in the European Union, families of European Union citizens and diplomats would also be exempt from the travel ban and von der Leyen said researchers and medical professionals fighting coronavirus should be allowed to continue to come to the continent. Goods will also be allowed to flow freely.

Such lockdowns are not only seen as threats for the Union itself but now may end up thwarting supplies to produce the medical equipment needed to stave off the pandemic.

The EU will on Monday also launch joint procurement with EU countries of testing kits and respiratory ventilators.

The European Commission is imposing updated guidelines and procedures on border measures in response to the spread of Covid-19.

Other EU states like Portugal, Italy and Spain have also imposed a lockdown and on Monday (16 March), the Greek government announced a two-week quarantine for all incoming visitors.

"Therefore member states have taken strong measures to slow down the spread of the virus".

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