The travel bans on 26 European nations by President Donald Trump’s has come into force in the US, as part of a contingency plan to tackle the coronavirus crisis.
The ban applies to non-Americans who have been in the Schengen border-free travel area within 14 days of travelling to the US.
People travelling from the UK and the Republic of Ireland are exempt, as are returning US citizens. travel is suspended for 30 days from 26 Schengen countries – 22 European Union members and four non-EU.
They 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.
Mr. Trump said the UK’s exemption had been made on the advice of “a group of professionals” but could be reviewed because the number of cases had “gone up fairly precipitously over the last 24 hours”.
There are nearly 2,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US, and 43 deaths.
President Trump’s administration has faced criticism for its failure to provide Americans with widespread coronavirus testing. He also declared a national emergency, freeing up to $50bn (£40bn) in relief funds.
Saturday latest developments on Coronavirus:
In New Zealand, PM Jacinda Ardern said anyone entering the country from midnight on Sunday must self-isolate for 14 days; people from small South Pacific islands would be exempt
In Australia, the number of confirmed cases rose to 200, with three deaths
In China, health authorities said there were 13 deaths and 11 new cases
South Korea reported more recoveries (204) than new infections – the second day in a row
Colombia said it would close its border with Venezuela at 05:00 (10:00 GMT) and bar any visitors who had recently been in Europe or Asia
In the UK, government sources said mass gatherings could be banned as early as next weekend
Separately, Washington on Friday summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest at comments by a Chinese diplomat that the US military might have brought the virus to China. The coronavirus originated in China’s Hubei province late last year.
But the daily rates of new infections have been slowing in China, making Europe the new “epicenter” of the pandemic.(BBC)