The United States announced Saturday that a travel ban imposed on European nations over the coronavirus pandemic will be extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland.
President Donald Trump has decided to “suspend all travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland. That will be effective midnight Monday night EST (0400 GMT Tuesday),” Vice President Mike Pence told a White House news conference.
“Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home,” Pence said, adding that such people would be “funneled through specific airports and processed.”
AFP reports that the 30-day US ban on travel from the 26 countries of Europe’s Schengen border-free zone took effect on Saturday, but notably excludes Britain and Ireland.
Trump had earlier confirmed the ban would be extended to those countries as the pandemic progresses, saying: “They’ve had a little bit of activity, unfortunately.”
Britain’s death toll from the novel coronavirus nearly doubled on Saturday, to 21.
The Republic of Ireland — which has taken strict steps to stem the spread of the coronavirus — so far had 70 confirmed cases and one death.
Trump’s sweeping travel ban has drawn an angry response from European officials, who have called for cooperation to fight the pandemic.