EU to Stop All Nonessential Travel Into Europe for 30 Days
The European Union is expected to restrict all nonessential travel into the region for at least 30 days, European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen announced on Monday. The plan still needs to approved by European leaders. If it does, only essential travel to the EU will be allowed for at least a month.
“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus,” von der Leyen said in a video statement. “I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on nonessential travel to the European Union”, she added.
“We think nonessential travel should be reduced right now in order not to spread the virus further, be it within the European Union or by leaving the European Union, but also to avoid nonessential travels not to have more potential strain on our healthcare system.” said von der Leyen.
Members of the Schengen travel area, including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, will not be affected by the rules. The United Kingdom, which left the EU in January but remains in a transition period with the bloc, will also be exempt. However, the UK will be asked to abide by the new rules.
Under the plan, visitors from non-EU states will not be allowed to enter the region unless they are long-term residents of the EU, family members of EU nationals, diplomats, cross-border commuters, or essential workers like doctors, nurses, and researchers, von der Leyen said. This is similar to the travel ban issued by the United States last week.
Some European countries, especially Italy and Spain have seen a big surge in new cases recently. Italy has around 25,00 total cases and over 1,800 deaths. Spain is now ranked 4th in the world with 9,500 total cases and 335 deaths.