The European Union's top official on Monday proposed a 30-day ban on non-essential travel into the bloc, to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, while insisting on the need to keep the internal borders between the 27 member states open as much as possible.
After the surge of COVID-19 cases in Europe led the Italian government to put the country on lockdown, other member states have implemented drastic measures and travel restrictions, including partially closing their borders.
Speaking after an extraordinary video-conference meeting of the leaders of the G-7 countries, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said travel restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days. which can be prolonged if necessary.
The less travel, the more we can contain the virus, von der Leyen said. She said long-term residents in the European Union, frontier workers, family members of European Union nationals and diplomats would be exempted from the restrictions.
Essential staff such as doctors, nurses, care workers, researchers and experts that help address the coronavirus should continue to be allowed in the EU," von der Leyen added. People transporting goods are exempted too.
Why that? Because the flow of goods to the European Union must continue to secure the supply of goods, including essential items such as medicine, but also food and components that our factories need." Von der Leyen also urged member states to coordinate on the European level to ensure goods and essential services continue to flow in the internal market.