The European Union plans an unprecedented 30-day ban on nonessential travel into the bloc in a bid to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Monday.
The significant escalation of EU measures needs to be approved formally by EU leaders when they talk on Tuesday. Ms. Von der Leyen said she had spoken to the majority of EU leaders over the weekend and had their backing.
The proposal covers the EU’s border-free Schengen zone, which includes 22 EU countries and four non-EU countries. The proposed ban doesn’t affect travel within the EU, but as of Monday morning, seven countries in the bloc had imposed their own unilateral travel restrictions on EU and non-EU foreign nationals.
“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 statement.
The Commission chief said that non-EU Schengen associate members—Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein—would be encouraged to join the ban. Switzerland and Norway already have similar measures in place.
She also encouraged Britain and Ireland, which share a common travel area but aren’t in the Schengen zone, to align with the others. U.K. citizens will still be able to travel to the EU, she said, despite Britain exiting the bloc in January.
The ban will allow for a number of exemptions for long-term residents, medical staff and others dealing with coronavirus, diplomats and frontier workers. In a bid to ensure the continent isn’t blocked off from global supply chains, people transporting goods will also be exempt, Ms. Von der Leyen said.
The Commission chief said she had informed the EU’s Group of Seven developed nations partners of the proposed measure in a call Monday afternoon.
She said the EU was also implementing fresh exemptions to the bloc’s state aid rules to allow unprecedented government support to local companies.
Last week, the Trump administration banned most EU citizens from travelling to the U.S. Washington extended that ban to include Britain and Ireland over the weekend.
MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
- Oil’s Spectacular Collapse Continues
- Investors Prepare For More Market Swings As Virus Spreads
- American Airlines Cutting International Flights By 75%
- Wall Street Sees Worst Drop Since 1987
- Financial Markets – Top 5 Things to Watch This Week