EU to assess US restrictions on travel

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President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the coronavirus Wednesday, March, 11, 2020, in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

(AP) The European Union says it will assess President Donald Trump’s decision to restrict travel from Europe to the United States amid deep concern over the move’s economic impact, with markets already heavily hit by the new virus.

“We will assess the situation today. Economic disruption must be avoided,” European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs summits of EU presidents and prime ministers, said in a tweet Thursday.

Michel underlined that “Europe is taking all necessary measures to contain the spread” of the virus.

Trump said all European travel would be cut off, but Homeland Security officials later clarified that the new restrictions apply only to most foreign nationals who have been in Europe’s passport-free travel zone at any point within 14 days prior to their arrival to the United States.

The so-called “Schengen” area comprises 26 countries including EU members France, Italy, German, Greece, Austria and Belgium, where the EU has its headquarters, but also others like Switzerland, Norway and Iceland.

Trump said the month-long restriction on travel would begin late Friday. He accused Europe of not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and claimed that U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travelers.

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