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The Trump administration has extended its ban on European
travellers to visitors from the UK and Ireland, vice president Mike Pence
confirmed during a Saturday afternoon press conference, due to the continuing
coronavirus outbreak. The ban is scheduled to go into effect Monday after 2359 Eastern
time (0359 GMT).
Like the ban on travellers who have been in the European
Union's Schengen Area within the prior two weeks, the new ban excludes US
citizens and their families, Pence said. "Americans in the UK or Ireland
can come home, legal residents can come home," Pence said. "They will
be funnelled through specific airports and processed." It wasn't
immediately clear to which airports Pence was referring.
The administration's initial travel ban, announced last Wednesday,
surprised and dismayed some in the industry who noted that the coronavirus
already is spreading within the US. Other countries, such as Israel, Spain and
Kuwait, also have implemented inbound travel bans in an effort to slow the
According to the US Travel Association, 4.7 million visitors
from the UK and 531,000 Irish visitors came to the US in 2018, spending US$15.7
billion and US$2 billion respectively.
"The public's health and safety is priority number one,
and we hope the aggressive steps taken by the federal government succeed in
putting the moment of greatest concern behind us," US Travel Association
president and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement. "Hearing of the need to
further expand travel restrictions – especially the inclusion of our number one
overseas source market, the UK – is obviously not the development the US travel
industry was hoping for. Aggressive steps will also be needed to address the
health of the US economy, the small businesses that make up 83 per cent of all
US travel employers, and the 15.8 million travel-supported jobs that are going
to feel a catastrophic impact from coronavirus."