Europe locks itself down for a month
There goes your European vacation. The European Union (EU) has banned non-essential entry of all foreign nationals into the continent for at least a month. The stern measure follows the corona virus pandemic, that is beginning to hurt almost all countries in Europe.
Only residents, family members, healthcare works and medical experts will be exempt from the rule. The ban has been imposed for the next 30 days, as an initial measure.
EU has also announced plans to set up fast green lanes on major roads to give priority to transport of medical goods, food and other emergency services.
Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, has said that these radical steps were necessary to slow down the spread of the virus. “We need to do more to reduce the huge pressure on our healthcare system,” she said.
“We know that everything that reduces social interaction also reduces the spread of the virus. The less we travel, the more we can contain it,” she added.
However, British citizens will be exempt from the EU travel ban because of the post-Brexit transition period. “UK citizens are European citizens and there are no restrictions for them to travel to the continent,” Leyen said.
The Brussels headquartered EU was shaken by the fact that there was a rapid rise of infections in Europe. The entry ban will apply to the Schengen area countries, which include 22 EU members as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
The four EU states on the continent but not in Schengen – Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria – are also being urged to implement the ban.