President Trump declared 30-day travel ban on EU member states to contain the spread of Covid-19. EU leaders accused him for taking measures without consulting them.
US travel Ban
On Thursday morning Europe woke up to the news that all travel from and to the US is banned. The restriction was effective from Friday midnight EDT.
The ban however, does not apply to US citizens and permanent residents. It only applies to foreign citizen living under the Schengen area, or to those who have been in one of the 26 EU countries in the last 14 days. President Trump made his statement on Wednesday at the White House oval office. He said, “This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus”. With selective words, President Trump labelled Covid-19 as a “foreign virus”: holding foreign countries accountable and marking he’s statement ‘legitimate’ for his listeners.
Meanwhile in Europe, EU leaders are furious over Mr. Trump’s statement.
EU Commission President Ursula von den Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel, made a joint statement on Thursday morning condemning President Trump’s decision. They stated, that in a time as such, where the whole world is facing a global crisis the response should have been “cooperation rather than unilateral action”.
To underline that the EU is ‘active’ in fighting Covid-19, and it’s not responsible over US accusation, they added “The European Union is taking strong actions to limit the spread of the virus”.
The EU is now Trump’s scapegoat
“He is someone who looks at somebody else to blame” says Belgium MEP Petra De Sutter about President Trump, during a close up on US travel ban on France24 news. De Sutter describes President Trump’s decision as “irresponsible”. “He has failed to take the necessary measures in the US when the outbreak first started” she added. Since the US is one on the countries which acted late on national response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
There were initial concerns on undiagnosed patients in the US, since testing costs are expensive. While South Korea tested more than 35,000 people, the US tested only 426, according to The Guardian report.
Trump’s target is the EU, not the Coronavirus
De Sutter questions on why there is no travel ban restriction over other countries where the outbreak of the virus is currently spreading: countries like Iran and Japan. “This explains his little game” she adds. Before extending the ban to the UK and Ireland on Monday midnight, only 26 EU countries were on travel-ban list. President Trump was sensible enough to exclude the UK even if there are confirmed cases of the virus in the country.
Surprising many, when President Trump was asked why he did not consult the EU, he justified his unilateral decision by accusing back the EU for not consulting him when they raise taxes on the US. “When they raise taxes on us, they don’t consult us, and I think that’s probably one in the same” said Mr. Trump.
Will US travel ban over EU stop the spread?
“There is nothing to show and prove that closing out borders will stop spread the virus” says the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak. Preliminary Covid-19 researchers and epidemiologist are studying on ways to best contain the spread of the virus. If travel bans are implemented early, scientist suggest that it may have positive implications to slow the outbreak.
But if the virus is already spreading within the community, public health experts suggest travel bans are useless. In fact, these kinds of measures are defined as “profoundly strange” in the face of a global pandemic.