EU Plans 30-Day Ban on Non-Essential Travel

By Jesse Sokolow on 16 March 2020
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Brussels as seen from the Mont des Arts

PARIS—The European Union is planning to introduce a 30-day ban on non-essential travel into the bloc to restrict the spread of the novel coronavirus, the president of the EU Commission said.

If approved, the plan would cover 22 EU countries and possibly four non-EU countries that comprise the border-free Schengen Zone.  The ban would not restrict travel within the bloc, although individual countries have already in several cases already closed their borders. The four non-EU states in the Schengen Area – Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland – would be encouraged to align themselves with the EU members and adopt the ban, said the EU Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen.

“These travel restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days, which can be prolonged if necessary,” she said in a video announcing the plan.

The ban would exempt healthcare workers, those with residence permits, diplomats, and individuals transporting goods.

Ms. von der Leyen said that she has presented the idea to G7 partners and heads of state.

The plan needs to be presented to EU leaders for approval.  That will likely happen on Tuesday when they meet online although Ms. von der Leyen said she had already spoken to most EU heads of state and had their backing for the plan.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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