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US adds Ireland and UK to Europe-wide travel ban, comes into effect midnight Monday

The ban was originally put in place for 30 days for the 26 Schengen area countries in Europe.

Image: Reynolds Stefani/CNP/ABACA

THE US HAS announced that Ireland and the UK is now to be included in the travel ban issued to European countries earlier this week. 

The ban was originally put in place for 30 days for the 26 Schengen area countries in Europe but Trump hinted last night that the ban could be extended to other countries as the US deals with the coronavirus outbreak. 

US Vice President Mike Pence announced the ban has been extended to Ireland and the UK from Monday, following a meeting of the US coronavirus task force this morning. 

He said: “In our taskforce meeting today the president has made a decision to suspend all travel to the UK and Ireland, effective midnight Monday night, eastern standard time.”

Pence said there had been a “unanimous recommendation” from health experts to extend the travel ban.

“Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home, legal residents can come home … they will will be funnelled through specific airports and processed.”

He said that this funnelling of American citizens will happen at 13 airports and passengers will be screened upon arrival.

In an Oval Office address to the nation on Thursday, Trump blamed the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and claimed US clusters were “seeded” by European travellers.

On Friday, Trump then declared a national emergency opening up additional disaster relief funds to US states and territories. 

There have been 2,345 cases of the virus confirmed in the US – 50 people are also confirmed to have died. 

The countries from the Schengen Area to which the ban already applies, include: 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. 

The ban suspends entry into the US for most foreign nationals who have been in these countries at any point during the 14 days prior arrival. 

The ban does not apply to US citizens, legal permanent residents and immediate family members of US citizens. 

Europe

Over the past 24 hours, Tánaiste Simon Coveney has also issued new travel warnings for European countries advising Irish citizens to exercise a ‘high degree of caution’ to every country in Europe. 

This morning, that warning was upgraded in six countries where Irish citizens are advised against all non-essential travel. 

Those six countries are Poland, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Malta, and Cyprus. 

In a statement this afternoon, Coveney said the Department of Foreign Affairs will also be providing additional guidance on Spain, which remains at non-essential travel, while Italy remains at no travel.   

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