Donald Trump has announced a raft of new restrictions banning people travelling from Europe to the US in a bid to fight the spread of coronavirus.
The measures, which he called "strong but necessary", will not apply to the UK, where 10 people have died and over 590 cases of the flu-like bug have been identified.
The 30-day ban will only affect travellers from the 26 countries within the Schengen border-free travel area and does not apply to US citizens.
It is in force against those who have been in the Schengen area within 14 days of the date of their planned arrival in the US.
Speaking from the Oval Office yesterday (Wednesday, March 11) evening, President Trump said: "To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe.
"The new rules will go into effect Friday (March 13) at midnight."
Addressing the measures put in place across the continent, he said the EU had "failed to take the same precautions" as the US, where there had been 1,135 cases and 38 deaths as of Thursday (March 12) morning.
We will be suspending all travel from Europe.
As reported by the BBC, President Trump had initially said the restrictions would also be applied to "the tremendous amount of trade and cargo" coming into the US from Europe, but later clarified on Twitter that trade would not be affected.
The president has come under fire over his response to the outbreak, with one expert claiming it will have "no impact" on the spread of the virus in the US.
Georgetown University public health expert Lawrence Gostin wrote on Twitter: "Most of Europe is as safe as US. This will have no impact on US... germs don't respect borders."
Others were quick to criticise the plans as 'idiotic' and 'stupid'.
One Twitter user said: "Trump knows that it doesn't take much to travel inside the EU/inside Europe? So that it'd be no problem for e.g. Germans to travel to the UK only to take a flight to the US from there? Europeans who really wanna go to the US will find a way. Either ban all countries or none."
Another tweeted: "Trump's stupid ban does not include US citizens travelling back and forth to Europe. And anyone from Europe wanting to travel to the US has only to travel via a British airport and that's perfectly fine."
A third said: "Why were Ireland and the UK exempted from Trump's idiot Euro travel ban, even though the UK has more COVID-19 cases than many European countries covered by the ban? Because Ireland and the UK are the only places in Europe where Trump owns properties."
President Trump's announcement followed reports of two more deaths in the UK due to coronavirus.
According to the Metro, eight people have now succumbed to the deadly bug.
Diane Wake, chief exec of the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, revealed in a statement on Wednesday: "The Trust can confirm that a patient in their 70s being treated for underlying health conditions has died. The patient had tested positive for Covid-19."
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