Donal Trump’s decision last night to block the entry of European travelers to the United States from Friday evening only concerns non-Americans who have visited Schengen countries during the 14 days preceding the scheduled date of their arrival. Trade will not be affected, he swore, the decision being necessary to stem the coronavirus epidemic.
It took a press release from the US State Department to specify the ban for 30 days from March 13, 2020, announced by the president, which mentioned travelers from Europe except the United Kingdom: the countries concerned are in alphabetical order Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Entry restrictions do not apply to persons with a permanent residence permit in the United States or parents of American citizens. And it also took a presidential message on social media to clarify that freight was not affected either: « trade will in no way be affected. The restriction blocks people, not goods. ”
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While the WHO now considers the Covid-19 epidemic a pandemic, and that the milestone of 1,200 cases of contamination has been crossed in the United States (at least 38 deaths), Donald Trump denounced a « foreign virus »: he explained that Europe was increasingly affected by the epidemic « because it had not closed its doors to travelers from China »; and « a large number » of new outbreaks in the US have been created « by travelers from Europe ». The president, however, did not explain why the United Kingdom was exempt when the epidemic has now left 8 dead and 465 cases of contamination. All flights between the United States and Italy, the main European center of the epidemic, are already suspended, but links with China continue to be operated.
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The US administration has not discussed the measure with the European Union and has not warned it of the restrictions being put in place on Friday; European Council President Charles Michel said this morning on social media that the situation will be « examined » during the day, ensuring that the EU is already taking all the necessary precautions. And he called for « avoiding economic disruption ». 22,307 people were infected with Covid-19 in Europe, and 930 died.