President Donald Trump took the exceptional step on March 11, 2020 of banning travel from Europe, excluding the UK, starting on Friday, March 13, 2020, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, which countries does this apply to?
Shortly after Trump’s March 11, 2020 address to the nation, the Department of Homeland Security outlined the countries Trump is including in his European ban. It made it clear that the ban is limited to the entry of foreign nationals into the U.S. (versus, travel by U.S. citizens to Europe.) The statement also provided more details on exemptions:
“Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States,” the statement said. “These countries, known as the Schengen Area, 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, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”
Statement from DHS Acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf:
“Protecting the American people from threats to their safety is the most important job of the President of the United States. 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. 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. In January and February, the Administration issued similar travel restrictions on individuals who had been in China and Iran. That action proved to be effective in slowing the spread of the virus to the U.S., while public health officials prepared. In the next 48 hours, in the interest of public health, I intend to issue a supplemental Notice of Arrivals Restriction requiring U.S. passengers that have been in the Schengen Area to travel through select airports where the U.S. Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures.”
The White House wrote: “The travel restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in 26 European countries with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days. Those exempt from these restrictions, such as U.S. citizens, will be directed to limited airports where screening can take place. He said the U.S. will reevaluate restrictions in place with South Korea and China.”
A few other points.
First, as noted, Trump said that the travel ban won’t apply to travel to and from the United Kingdom.
Secondly, the president announced that the travel ban will last at least 30 days.
Third, Trump said there will be exceptions for Americans who undergo “appropriate screenings.” How that is being defined is not yet clear.
Here’s what you need to know:
Trump Announced the European Ban to Stop the Spread of the Virus
You can watch Trump’s press conference above. It starts at 27:28 into the video.
Here’s exactly what Trump said:
“We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days," said Trump. "The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground. There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.”
Trump later tweeted this clarification, “Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.”
He said the U.S. will reevaluate restrictions in place with South Korea and China.
Trump pointed out that the World Health Organization declared coronavirus is a global pandemic on March 11.
“We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and private sector to protect the American people,” said Trump in his address to the nation. “This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”
He promised “tough measures” to “defeat this virus.”
He said, “It only matters how you respond, and we are responding with great speed and professionalism.”
Trump said the European Union failed to take the same precautions as the U.S., blaming that for new “clusters” in the U.S. that he said involved travelers from Europe.
He said he was taking strong but necessary action. Trump emphasized that the highest risk from the virus is to elderly people and those with underlying health conditions. “Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow,” said the president. He said, “For all Americans, it is essential that everyone take extra precautions.” He urged people to wash their hands, among other steps.
“I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health and safety of the American people. I will always put the well being of America first…The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared or resilient than the United States,” said Trump. “…We are all in this together. We must put politics aside. Stop the partisanship, and unify together as one nation and one family…Americans always rise to the challenge and overcome adversity.”
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