US suspends flights from Europe.

Travel restrictions to the US from Europe began to apply. The US suspends flights from 26 European counties. Trump also declared a national emergency and announced that he will mobilize $ 50 billion to help states and citizens fight the pandemic.

One of the most controversial measures announced because of the coronavirus pandemic took effect on Friday at midnight, ordered by President Donald Trump. The measure consists of the restriction on travel to the US from much of Europe;

Details of the announcement.

The veto came into effect from midnight on Friday for 30 days to those who were in any of the 26 nations of the European Schengen area in the last two weeks, except for US citizens. or permanent residents in the country.

Trump made the surprise announcement on Wednesday in response to the advance of the coronavirus and in his decision excluded countries like the United Kingdom, but on Saturday Vice President Mike Pence announced an extension of the ban to also include this country and the Republic of Ireland, in a measure that will take effect on Monday.

EU’s reaction

Trump’s announcement on Wednesday drew criticism from the European Union because as always his measures seem erratic.

In addition, questions arose about the effectiveness and motivations of the Trump measure, which caused chaos in European airports with passengers desperate to fly to the United States. before the deadline.

European officials noted that Trump adopted on his own account his surprising resolution. Especially since said measure affects Washington’s traditional allies like Germany, France or Italy.

A TV announcement.

Trump announced these restrictions in an extraordinary message on TV. But Trump justified his actions Thursday, as markets collapsed, schools and events of all kinds closed in the United States, and consequently people’s fear of the coronavirus increased.

In announcing the move, Trump said the European Union ‘failed’ to install precautions against the coronavirus; and as a result, a large number of new cases in the US were planted by travelers from Europe’.

The United States fails in how to fight the Coronavirus

He indicated that the travel restrictions, which will end when the virus threat passes, seek to prevent more infected people from entering the US, since in the European Schengen area where people move without immigration control there are thousands of proven cases.

However, a large part of these cases is in Italy, which has limited the movement of people, and it is unknown what real effect it may have to prohibit the entry of foreigners to the United States. when the infection is already endemic in the country.

Trump’s decision sparked a race for many in Europe to return to the U.S. before the closure.

The World Organization of Health (WHO) said on February 29 that ‘the denial of entry to passengers from areas usually affected are not effective to prevent the importation of cases, but may have a significant impact on the economy and society.’

In relation to this aspect, British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said that there is no evidence that measures like closing borders or travel bans have a significant positive impact on stopping the spread of the infection.

Scapegoat?

This is not the first time that Trump sparks controversy by restricting the entry of foreigners to the United States.

In fact, one of the first controversial measures he took as president was to ban citizens from some Muslim-majority countries from entering, citing security reasons, which earned him a long legal dispute.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen harshly criticized Trump’s decision.

With the emergence of the coronavirus, Trump initially restricted arrival in the United States. of people who have been in the previous two weeks in China, where the epidemic began or Iran.

And on Tuesday, amid mounting criticism for his attempts to relativize the health threat, he suggested that the wall he wants to erect on the border with Mexico would help contain the coronavirus, something that was dismissed by Robert Redfield, director of the Control Centers. and US Disease Prevention

Trump said Thursday that he can also suspend domestic flights if he deems it necessary.

But his decision to restrict income from Europe also generated signs that he is acting with political objectives in the face of the crisis; to deflect his administration responsibility in the crisis.

Empty suspended flight
Empty cabin in a suspended flight

Strong Borders.

While the Trump administration has had growing trade or political differences with the European Union, its relations with the United Kingdom have remained on a more positive note.

Trump endorsed Britain’s decision to pull out of the European bloc, known as Brexit, and signaled interest in negotiating a bilateral trade deal with the Boris Johnson government.

This background fueled suspicions that Trump proceeded with favoritism by excluding the United Kingdom from its travel restrictions.

Trump argued that that nation has “strong borders” and is doing “a very good job” in containing the coronavirus.

But some noted that as of Thursday there were 456 cases registered in the UK, more than in countries like Austria, Belgium, Greece, Portugal and several more included in the new US restrictions.

Suspended Flights. We are facing the epidemic the wrong way

Others recalled that Trump has two golf courses in the United Kingdom and one in Ireland, which is also excluded from its measures because it is outside the Schengen area.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania also do not belong to the Schengen area despite belonging to the European Union and, therefore, were left out of the Trump resolution to suspend flights from Europe.

Passengers leaving flight
Passengers leaving flight with facemasks

Italy has imposed strong limitations on the movement of people due to the increase in cases of coronavirus.

The controversy is a clear sign of how the pandemic became a new challenge for relations between governments pressured by the advance of the virus and the collapse of the stock exchanges.

Barron Lerner, a medical historian at New York University, said diseases have posed international challenges since the Middle Ages, when quarantine for bubonic plague or smallpox began to be used and the origin of ships needed to be verified.

Public activities are suspended

There has also been a cascade of cancellations for multi-user events. Just like Boston, New York suspended the annual parade on St. Patrick’s Day, for the first time in its 258 years of history. The Coachella music festival is also postponed for October. Other areas are set to celebrate events but without public.

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