US President Donald Trump has announced a 30 day restriction on travel between the US and Europe in an effort to contain the coronavirus.
The travel ban affects more than two dozen European countries, excluding the UK and Ireland.
The ban will apply only to foreign nationals and not to American citizens who had been screened before entering the country, as was the case with restrictions he applied to China last month.
“We have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe,” Trump said.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe.”
The ban applies to nations in the Schengen zone – Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
“We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus,” Trump said. “We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe. We will not delay. 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.”