EU Considers Banning All Non-Essential Travel To European Countries
The EU Commission has set out a proposal this afternoon, banning all non-essential foreign arrivals into EU countries.
The president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, set out the ban today, announcing the plans are necessary to stop the growing spread of coronavirus.
The dramatic crackdown - which comes after Europe was labelled as the epicentre of the outbreak - means only residents and healthcare workers will be exempt.
Announcing the plans, she wrote on Twitter: "The @EU_Commission presents guidelines on border measures & proposes: 1. Green lanes/fast lanes giving priority to essential transport to keep the mobility sector going & ensure economic continuity.
"Temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU (30 days)."
The @EU_Commission presents guidelines on border measures & proposes:
:one:Green lanes/fast lanes giving priority to essential transport to keep the mobility sector going & ensure economic continuity
:two:Temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU (30 days) pic.twitter.com/9bda9MntF0
- Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) March 16, 2020
This essentially means that 'fast lanes' will be set up to ensure food, medicines and the emergency services vehicles can be given priority.
"We need to do more to reduce huge pressure on our healthcare system," she said.
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"We know that everything that reduces social interaction also reduces the spread of the virus. The less travel, the more we can contain the virus."
While the UK has left the European Union, it has been confirmed that the restrictions will not apply to UK citizens.
"UK citizens are European citizens," said Ursula von der Leyen.
"There are no restrictions for UK citizens to travel to the continent."
The announcement comes after it was revealed Virgin Atlantic has told staff to take eight weeks unpaid leave as coronavirus continues to affect demand for travel.
The company has today announced it will cut 80 per cent of flights by the 26th of March, and will increase this by a further 10 per cent by April.
It comes as global travel restrictions continue to be implemented around the world, and we're seeing a drastic rise in people reluctant to travel due to the risk of catching COVID-19.
Featured Image Credit: PA