BRUSSELS, March 16, 2020 – The EU on Monday announced plans to introduce a temporary ban on non-essential travel to the territory of the bloc’s member countries to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the measure aims to prevent the virus from gaining more potential.
Under the plan, non-EU citizens will not be allowed in the bloc for an initial 30 days, but this may later be extended.
With EU nationals returning home, health workers and researchers will be exempted from the travel ban.
The proposal will be finalized on Tuesday, von der Leyen explained.
Von der Leyen and the president of the European Council already informed the leaders of the G7 — the seven most advanced economies of the world — about the plans on restricting non-essential travel in a videoconference on Monday afternoon.
The EU state and government heads will discuss the initiative during an extraordinary videoconference on Tuesday.
The meeting is dedicated to negotiating further measures on containing the spread of the coronavirus, preparing healthcare systems and preventing eventual economic fallout.
The travel restriction must be approved by all EU member states to take effect.