In Brief

Coronavirus: Donald Trump bans travel from mainland Europe to US

President blames European Union and says US clusters were ‘seeded’ by European travellers

Donald Trump has announced a travel ban for travellers from 26 European countries - though not the UK - in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus. Ireland is also exempt.

In a televised address, the US president said the EU had not acted quickly enough to address the outbreak of the virus and claimed that US clusters were “seeded” by European travellers.

“We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” he said. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”

The “extraordinary measure”, says Fox News, will last for 30 days from midnight on Friday.

A European diplomat told Reuters that the White House did not notify European officials before the televised address. The reason for the UK exemption was also unclear.

Although Trump “set out to steady a rattled nation and a diving economy”, said CNN, his address “instead sowed more confusion and doubts that he is up to handling the fast-worsening coronavirus crisis”.

Susan Glasser, a writer from The New Yorker, tweeted: “The militaristic, nationalistic language of Trump’s speech tonight is striking: a ‘foreign virus,’ keeping out China and Europe.”

USA Today said “the UK exemption opens a lot of possibilities for connecting flights to the continent”, but the US Department of Homeland Security said the order would bar most foreign nationals who had been in the 26 European countries during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival.

The countries are: 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.

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