- President Donald Trump’s new coronavirus-related travel restrictions on Europe initially did not extend to the two European countries where he has golf courses: the UK and Ireland.
- The 30-day travel ban announced Wednesday only targeted 26 countries that are part of a visa-free travel area known as the Schengen Area. The UK and Ireland are not part of that zone.
- Trump has two properties in the UK – Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links in Scotland – as well as one in Doonbeg, Ireland. All are struggling financially.
- A day after the travel ban took effect Friday, the Trump administration announced the travel restrictions would be extended to the UK and Ireland starting on Monday at midnight.
- As of Saturday, the total number of European countries affected by the travel restrictions was 28.
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Hours after the World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic, President Donald Trump on Wednesday night announced a 30-day travel ban on most of Europe. But among the countries he initially excluded were two where he has hotels and golf courses that have been struggling financially: the UK and Ireland.
Trump has two properties in the UK – Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links in Scotland – as well as another in Doonbeg, Ireland.
The new travel restrictions, announced by Trump in a televised Oval Office address, temporarily bar foreign nationals starting Friday from travelling to the US from 26 European countries that are part of what is known as the Schengen Area: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Schengen Area does not include the UK or Ireland. Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania are also not part of it.
Though the UK and Ireland were originally exempt from the temporary travel ban, the Trump administration on Saturday announced the restrictions were being extended to include both countries. Vice President Mike Pence said the travel restrictions on the UK and Ireland would take effect on Monday at midnight. This brings the total number of European countries affected by the travel restrictions to 28.
Over 1,100 coronavirus cases have been reported in the UK as of Saturday. Ireland reported its first death from the coronavirus on Wednesday, per The Irish Times. These countries so far have seen fewer cases than Schengen region countries like Italy and France, which have so far seen 12,500 and 2,300 cases respectively.
— CNN International (@cnni) March 12, 2020
Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, met with Trump at the White House on Thursday, just one day after Trump announced the new restrictions. Earlier this week, Varadkar announced Ireland was cancelling its St. Patrick’s Day parade because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump and Varadkar avoided shaking hands during their Thursday meeting due to coronavirus.
In his Wednesday speech, Trump presented the coronavirus as a “foreign virus,” even though the virus has been spreading within US borders, with hundreds of cases reported.
The president argued that the US had been doing a better job than Europe in terms of its response to the novel coronavirus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19.
“Taking early intense action, we have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe,” Trump said. “The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots.”
Trump’s remarks came as his administration faces ongoing, widespread criticism over a lack of testing for the virus linked to faulty kits sent out by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention last month. The US is still facing a shortage of testing kits, which limits the government’s ability to gauge the scale of the outbreak.
Other countries have outpaced the US in terms of testing, which has served as a source of national embarrassment.
The US has reported over 2,200 cases and confirmed 50 coronavirus deaths.
Trump’s Wednesday-night address was full of errors in terms of its presentation of the administration’s actual policy, which left officials scrambling to offer clarifications after.
The European travel ban, for example, does not extend to US citizens, legal permanent residents, or immediate family members of US citizens, even though Trump had said it was a ban on “all” travel.
Trump’s speech and the new travel restrictions came just one day after the president urged the public to “stay calm,” saying the novel coronavirus would “go away.”
“It will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away,” the president said.
The US’s top infectious-disease expert, Anthony Fauci, told House lawmakers the next day that the outbreak was “going to get worse” in the US.
Update: This article was first published when Ireland and the UK were not among the countries targeted by the Trump administration’s coronavirus travel restrictions on Europe. It was updated on Saturday after Vice President Mike Pence announced the temporary travel ban was being extended to include Ireland and the UK.
- Read more:
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- The White House scrambles to clarify key details from Trump’s speech announcing his coronavirus response
- Pelosi and Schumer say it’s ‘alarming’ that Trump failed to mention the lack of coronavirus testing in the US in his national address
- The US has reported 38 coronavirus deaths among more than 1,300 cases. Here’s what we know about the US patients.
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