US Blocks Europe Travelers — Here’s Why

US Blocks EU Travelers

( – President Trump moved boldly to protect Americans from the coronavirus last week, announcing a ban on most travelers from Europe. The decision has sparked fury from European leaders – but the administration says it’s vital if we’re going to slow the spread of the disease in the US.


On Wednesday night, President Trump imposed a 30-day ban on travel to the US for anyone who had been in the EU’s Schengen Area in the last 14 days.

  • The Schengen Area consists of 26 European countries, 22 of them in the EU and the other 4 in the European Free Trade Area. These countries have abolished internal border controls, and travel between any of them is – in theory – free from any checks. Crossing from one Schengen country to another usually means just driving past a sign beside the road.
  • With no border checkpoints, there’s no way to carry out health checks on someone crossing an internal border. Italy is in the Schengen Area. Italy also has more COVID-19 cases than any other nation, except China. There’s nothing to stop an infected person from Italy moving anywhere in the Schengen zone.
  • Now the administration has banned anyone who lives in the Schengen Area, or has spent time there in the 14 days before their flight, from traveling to the US. American citizens, however, will be allowed to enter through a restricted number of airports where they can be properly screened on arrival.
  • The UK and Ireland were originally exempt from the ban but have now been added. Ireland is in the EU but not Schengen; the UK left the EU in January and was never part of the defined area. Both of these countries maintain border controls and can screen entrants for the virus but have seen a dramatic increase in cases, leading to their addition.
  • European politicians reacted angrily to the ban, complaining that President Trump didn’t consult them before imposing it. Trump brushed off their complaints, saying that he did speak to some of them but wanted to move quickly. He also pointed out that the EU doesn’t consult him when it raises tariffs on American goods.
  • Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar dismissed Democrat claims that the travel ban is xenophobic or ineffective. He says that this ban, as well as earlier ones on travel from China, have bought valuable time to prepare for the pandemic.

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