European Union closes borders in fear of Coronavirus expansion

European Union closes borders in fear of Coronavirus expansion

Global and European expansion of the virus is in sight, and to slow down the infections, the E.U. leaders have agreed to restrict travel into Europe for at least 30 days.

The measure is expected to apply to 26 E.U. countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. U.K. citizens will not be affected by this. The ban comes as the number of deaths continues to rise in Italy and Spain, and France imposed a lockdown.

The restrictions will apply to all non-EU citizens with exceptions, such as people transporting goods, diplomats, and military personnel, health care professionals, and researchers. Long-term residents or visa-holders and relatives of E.U. citizens can also travel.

Member states said they would seal off their external borders "immediately," European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told reporters after the three-hour teleconference with leaders: "The enemy is a virus, and we have to do our utmost to protect our people and economies," adding: "We will not hesitate to take additional measures as the situation evolves."


Several member states have introduced curfews, shut down stores and restaurants, canceled all events to limit the spread of the virus, and stop it from overwhelming healthcare systems.

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has put his country into full lockdown. As a measure of protection, and also to limit people’s movement in fear of spreading the virus, the French will be required to download an online form and fill it out each time they venture outside - writing ‘going out to buy a baguette’ or ‘walking the dog’ - or risk a €38 fine if they are caught short. The lockdown measures are set to remain in force for at least two weeks. Moreover, the French leader suspended payment of taxes, rent, social charges, water, electricity, and gas.

In France, there are around 7,730 infections, 700 people in intensive care in hospitals, and a death toll of 175.


Sources: graphic.com, euobserver.com, bbc.com

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