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Commission proposes 30-day non-essential travel ban to the EU

EPA-EFE/ZOLTAN BALOGH HUNGARY OUT
A nurse checks the temperature of a woman in a pre-examination tent designated for a rapid health checks at Honved Hospital in Budapest, Hungary, 16 March 2020.

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The European Commission has proposed a 30-day ban on all non-essential travel from third countries to the EU area, in an effort halt COVID-19 from its rapid spread across the continent.

The EU area includes Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, as well as the four Schengen Associated States, while it could also include Ireland and the United Kingdom if they decide to align.

“I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU. The restriction should be in place for an initial period of 30 days, which can be prolonged as necessary,” the Commission President said, after an extraordinary videoconference meeting held with G7 leaders.
The Commission invited the EU Council to “act with a view to the rapid adoption … of a decision on applying a travel restriction on non-essential travel from third countries into the EU+ area with immediate effect at all part of the Schengen external borders.”
“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus,” von der Leyen said.
The European Union is working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO), which earlier in February declared COVID-19 outbreak a “pandemic” and described Europe as the “epicentre” of the virus’ outbreak.
The far-reaching measure aims at protecting public health, halting spread of the virus and lifting the internal border control measures, recently reintroduced by some member states. Over the past days, several EU member states shut their borders or restricted entrance/exit, to stem spread of the virus.

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