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Donald Trump sets up travel ban for Europe
Posted on 13/03/2020 , Modified on 20/03/2020

CultureUnited States of America

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With the World Health Organization declaring Coronavirus a pandemic, the American President has announced a unilateral ban for 26 European nations, in an attempt to contain further spread of the disease. Here is how the decision will be implemented and how it will affect people.

The ban will be in action from 11.59pm on Friday, March 13th (3.59am Saturday GMT) and will be in place for 30 days - although it might be extended or withdrawn depending on how the situation evolves.

A ban on Schengen

A ban on Schengen
Mikhail Palinchak/123RF

The suspension will be laid upon Europe's passport-free Schengen area, which consists of 26 countries - 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.

Foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area in the two weeks prior to their arrival to the US will not be allowed entry either, to keep out what the President has called the "foreign virus". The US have also temporarily denied entry to foreign nationals who have been to China during the two weeks prior to their arrival, as well as travellers from Iran. The State Department has also issued a "do not travel" cautionary advice against South Korean and Italian areas that have been highly affected by the outbreak.

American citizens and legal permanent residents will remain unaffected by the suspension and immediate family members of US citizens will also be allowed, but the term "immediate" hasn't been defined. Travellers from the United Kingdom and Ireland won't be affected by the ban.

Getting around the restriction

Getting around the restriction
Tomas Griger/123rf

In this situation, Europeans might have to fly to the UK in order to get to the US, which has caused a serious price hike in flights from London to the US. Following the announcement, British Airways economy flights from Heathrow to New York are now costing 1,500 and more. Virgin Atlantic flights are only slightly cheaper at 1,400 and American Airlines have quoted one-way fares over $1,800 (1,400). Some tickets even go at over $2,000 (1,599).

China, the center of the outbreak, has reported that the peak has passed with just eight new cases in Hubei province on Thursday. Businesses are starting to reopen there, as authorities proceed to cautiously relax previously implemented containment measures.