Trump Bans Most Travel from Europe to US
“The Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action. The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”
In an address to the American people on Wednesday night, President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban on travel from the United States to 26 European countries due to fears of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The restrictions will start on Friday at midnight.
The announcement was filled with misinformation and led to mass confusion at international airports across the United States and Europe.
President Trump originally said the restrictions would apply to all travel from Europe, however, the White House clarified that citizens, permanent residents, and those with close family in the United States will still be allowed to travel to the United States.
Trump also stated the restrictions would apply to “trade and cargo” from Europe”, however on Twitter he later corrected, “very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.”
Through much of the announcement, Trump touted his government’s response to the pandemic, despite mass criticism of the US response to the growing threat of the virus.
As of the Wednesday announcement, the United States has identified 1,336 cases of coronavirus from which 38 people have died. However, a chronic lack of testing for the virus is likely deflating the current numbers.
The 26 European countries with restricted travel are all part of the Schengen Area, an area of free movement within Europe.
Noticeably Ireland and the United Kingdom are exempt from the current ban despite the UK having 460 cases of coronavirus.
The Council of the European Union put out a statement Thursday morning that said, “the Coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action. The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”
The White House appears to be placing blame on European countries for the bloating numbers of coronavirus cases in the United States, but as detailed by the New York Times and many other publications, America missed its chance to contain the virus.
America’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) opted to ignore the World Health Organization’s testing guidelines in favor of creating its own test.
“We’re weeks behind because we had this problem,” Scott Becker, chief executive officer of the Association of Public Health Laboratories told ProPublica.
The White House also ordered federal health officials to classify all meetings about coronavirus as top-secret, hampering transparency and the ability for states and other countries to collaboratively combat the spread of the virus.
In the address, Trump assured Americans with quips like “we have the greatest economy anywhere in the world by far,” and he claimed the country is not in the midst of a financial crisis.
The nationalistic rhetoric mixed with Trump’s ban on travel from 26 European countries with “open borders” is clearly meant to serve a more political than logistical purpose.
The United States is suffering a coronavirus outbreak comparable to its European counterparts, and countries with few cases fall under the ban.
The White House released a statement that said the ban only applies to “foreign nationals who have been in 26 European countries with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days.”
Trump’s fiery border rhetoric has been a staple of his presidency, and on Tuesday he suggested it as a solution to the threat of coronavirus and tweeted: “Going up fast. We need the Wall more than ever!”
The rapid spread of the coronavirus combined with the American government’s inadequate response will lead to a much larger spread of the deadly virus.
When responding to the first cases in Washington, Dr. Helen Chu told the New York Times, “it must have been here this entire time. It’s just everywhere already.”