US extends Europe travel ban to include the UK and Ireland
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Following a 30-day travel ban to large swaths of Europe, Vice President Mike Pence has announced at a press conference on Saturday that the president has made a decision to suspend all travel to the United Kingdom and Ireland effective Monday, 16 March, at midnight ET. The vice president said this decision was made based on a “unanimous recommendation” by White House health experts.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf added: “We have issued new directives denying foreign nationals who have been in certain affected countries — that’s been 28 countries to date — from entry into the U.S. Today the president made the decision due to the rising number of cases in the UK to apply these restrictions to the UK and Ireland”.
Pence reiterated that, “Americans in the U.K. or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home…They will be funnelled through specific airports and processed.” Which airports they will be funnelled through is not yet known.
The original ban on travel from Europe, which did not include Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales, went into effect Friday, March 13 at midnight.
Pence said these travellers are “being screened at some 13 airports as we speak.” He continued: “If they are identified as being symptomatic for any illness there is additional response on site, but those Americans are being encouraged to return home and self-quarantine for 14 days.”
During the press conference, President Trump also added, “If you don’t have to travel, I wouldn’t do it. We want this thing to end, and end as quickly as possible”.
When the president was asked whether or not the White House is considering additional travel restrictions, including domestically, he responded saying, “Specifically from certain areas, yes we are,” adding that he’d be “working with the states” when considering other restrictions.
The cruise industry was also commended during the briefing for making the decision Friday to suspend cruise line operations for a period of 30 days. “We’re going to be working very vigorously over the next 30 days to implement new policies that’ll ensure that when the cruise lines start back up they’ll be safer and healthier places than ever before,” added Vice President Pence.
We will be updating this post with additional information as it comes in.
Feature image by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images.
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