United States President Donald Trump has announced “strong but necessary” travel restrictions in the wake of the coronavirus that has spread across Asia and Europe at a press briefing last night.
Effective Friday (tomorrow) at midnight, all flights from Europe’s Schengen zone which includes the Czech Republic and most other EU member states will be halted.
Additionally, anyone who has travelled within the Schengen zone within the last 14 days will be barred from entering the United States.
Trump stated that the ban on flights from Europe would last for 30 days. That could be extended as the situation surrounding the coronavirus develops around the world. As it is, the ban is one of the largest restrictions in the history of air travel, and could have widespread consequences for the airline industry.
While Trump initially stated that the travel ban would also apply to cargo between the United States and Europe, he later Tweeted that trade would be unaffected.
The travel restrictions do not apply to US citizens. Trump added that there would be “exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings.”
The flight restrictions also do not apply to areas outside of the Schengen zone, including Ireland and the United Kingdom, which left the European Union earlier this year.
The UK, however, has registered 460 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of this morning.
The US has so far registered 1336 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 38 deaths.
Some European countries are current epicenters for the spread of the virus. Italy has 12.5 thousand confirmed cases of coronavirus, second only to China. France, Spain, and Czech neighbor Germany all have around 2,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday in a controversial statement that up to 70% of the German population could become infected with the coronavirus.
Trump states that the European Union has “failed to take the same precautions” as the US in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.
However, the Czech Republic took significant action earlier this week, closing all secondary and elementary schools and banning events with more than 100 people for the indefinite future.
As of Thursday morning, there are 94 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Czech Republic. More than half of them are located in Prague.
Actor Tom Hanks confirmed yesterday that he and wife Rita Wilson had tested positive for coronavirus while in Australia.
In an unprecedented move, the NBA has called off the remainder of the 2019-20 basketball season after a member of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the virus.
For more information about the coronavirus situation in the Czech Republic, please consult our updated Czech Republic coronavirus FAQ.