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Covid-19: Europe and the U.S. May Extend Travel Ban

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The restriction of travel between the United States of America and Europe may be further extended. The president of the United States, Donald Trump declared earlier that the ban which started on March 11 would initially last for 30 days. With no cure for Covid-19 available for now, the best decision would be to keep the ban on travel in place. Administrative officials under Trump’s government have stated that the United States is thinking of extending the travel ban between the U.S. and Europe. Leaders of the EU countries are also considering extending their external border closure after May 15.

In the United States, the extension of the international travel ban could go on for months. There is no specific date in view of when things will return to normal and the travel ban lifted. Because of this, the travel industry is afraid that the stimulus packages the government provided for the travel and hospitality industries will not be enough. After Canada and Mexico, Europe provides the largest number of tourist or business travel to the United States each year. With the travel ban in place between these countries due to Covid-19, the travel, tourist and hospitality industry are finding it difficult to keep up.

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According to McClatchy, an official in Trump administration stated that “It makes sense given the circumstances. I don’t think anyone expects them to ease anytime soon”. Another official confirmed that there is no plan by the administration to lift the ban in the near future.

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Just as Trump administration is considering extending the ban, leaders of the EU countries are also putting measures in place to curtail or ban international travels. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, has remarked that the Schengen Area and the Schengen Associated states may close their external borders until September. The travel ban would help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and prevent a second wave in countries trying to flatten the curve.  

The Schengen Area and the Schengen Associated States (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) have locked their external borders since March 17 in order to control the spread of Covid-19. They later agreed to extend the lock till May 15.

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According to Margaritis Schinas, the Vice President for Promoting our European Way of Life, “The restriction on non-essential travel from third counties to the EU complements these measures at the EU’s external borders. While we can see encouraging first results, prolonging the travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the risks of the disease spreading further. We should not yet let the door open whilst we are securing our house”.

But as it is, the ban on non-essential international travels to the Schengen Area and the Schengen Associated States may be further extended till September. This will be decided after the ban on international travels in the Schengen Area is reviewed on or before May 15.

The April 2 update on Coronavirus revealed that there are over 1.5 million confirmed cases in Europe. Europe has so far lost over 140,000 people to the Covid-19 pandemic. The United States has over 1.1 million confirmed cases and has lost over 65 thousand people. Some of the EU countries are already expressing a reduction in the rate of the spread of the virus. However, the border needed to still be locked to international travel to avoid another escalation.

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