On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump released a video update on the COVID-19 virus. The President’s Oval Office announcement followed the World Health Organization’s declaration of the Coronavirus being a pandemic.
In his video, Trump imposed a travel ban, restricting all travel to and from 26 countries in the European Union, specifically in the Schengen zone. These countries include 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.
Trump stated that this happened because the “European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots.” He insists that new clusters of the Coronavirus in the United States were “seeded by travelers from Europe.”
Trump’s travel ban is due to start of Friday, 13 March at midnight and will last for 30 days following that date. Although the President was not clear in his speech, the Department of Homeland Security assured that all United States citizens are allowed back into the country. However, all foreign nationals, non-U.S. citizens, green card holders and families of U.S. citizens, who have traveled to any of the 26 banned countries, will not be allowed to enter the United States.
At this point, no travel ban has been implemented on Ireland or the United Kingdom, despite a growing number of cases in England.
During his speech, Trump had mistakenly announced that all European people and goods would be forbidden from entering the United States. However, in a tweet following his address, Trump clarified the confusion and announced that this travel ban was only for people.
The proclamation does not apply to U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, diplomatic and official travelers, air and sea crew members, members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their spouses and children, and certain other categories of travelers.