The U.S. has banned travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days, effective on Friday at midnight. The ban on travelers coming from Europe does not include the U.K., and exceptions will be made for American citizens, who would have to undergo health screening upon arrival to the U.S.
President Trump announced this measure and others in an Oval Office address on March 11 at 9 p.m. Eastern. These are attempts to prevent a further spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, which the WHO declared a pandemic earlier today. In his speech, President Trump said “to keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.”
The full speech is available here:
The Ban Prevents the Entry of ‘Most’ Foreign Nationals Who Have Traveled to Europe in the 14 Days Before Their Flight to the U.S.
This ban is similar to the travel ban that the U.S. put in place to restrict travel from China at the onset of the global outbreak. In that case, the ban extended to all travelers who had been to Wuhan, China in the last 14 days. The European travel restrictions were explained in a presidential proclamation posted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s website.
It says that foreign nationals who have been to specific European countries in the 14 days prior to their flight to the U.S. would not be permitted entry. These countries are the Schengen Area countries of Europe: 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.
An exception has been made for legal permanent residents and most immediate family members of U.S. citizens. The DHS Acting Secretary, Chad F. Wolf, said in the statement: “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. I applaud the president for making this tough but necessary decision.”
He continued, “While these new travel restrictions will be disruptive to some travelers, this decisive action is needed to protect the American public from further exposure to the potentially deadly coronavirus.”
The CDC & the State Department Have Not Yet Issued Advisories Against Travel
The CDC issued a level 3 travel notice for Europe, which means the CDC recommends that travelers avoid all nonessential travel to the specified countries in Europe. These are all the same countries as the presidential proclamation, with the addition of Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City.
The State Department has issued a global level 3 travel advisory, telling Americans to reconsider all travel abroad due to COVID-19. They say: “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”
Flights are also still operating between Europe and U.S., although many airlines have announced reductions to their schedule, CNN reported yesterday.