President Donald Trump has announced a 30-day ban on travel from the Schengen Area beginning 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight saving time on 13 March. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified that the ban will cover most foreign nationals who have been in any of the 26 Schengen countries 14 days prior to their arrival in the United States.
The countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. The United Kingdom and Ireland are currently excluded from the ban on travel.
Although the travel restriction does not apply to permanent U.S. residents and their immediate family members, returning U.S. citizens from Europe will travel to specific airports to undergo COVID-19 screening. The DHS indicated that it will release a “Notice of Arrival Restriction” on 13 March to identify the specific airports where enhanced screening procedures will be carried out.
The measure came after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March. The WHO declaration was made after the virus has sustained its spread and reached nearly every part of the world since the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China in December 2019.
The outbreak has prompted countries worldwide to implement tighter entry and exit measures, including intensified screening of travelers arriving from locations with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Some countries have also suspended air traffic and closed borders.
As of 12 March, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide is more than 126,000. More than 4,600 people have died from the virus, with the majority of deaths in China. Cases of the virus have been confirmed in more than 100 countries and territories.
- The travel ban begins at 11:59 p.m. eastern daylight saving time on 13 March. Flights taking off after this time will be accepted even if they land after 11:59 p.m. in the United States.
- Get home as soon as possible. “If you are a U.S. citizen or a green card holder, get on a plane before the ban takes effect,” said VP of Operations Scott Hume at Global Rescue. “You may not be able to leave afterward.”
- Travel restrictions may limit the ability of Global Rescue to assist. “If you can’t get home, get to the United Kingdom or Canada. From there we have options,” Hume said. “The next best option is to get to Mexico or the U.S. friendly nations of Central America.”
- Realize you may have to quarantine. “Restrictions and controls are changing and increasing every day,” Hume said. “While people may feel they are mitigating the situation effectively, they can’t control the ‘contact’ aspect while traveling. Know that even if you do not have symptoms, you may be required to quarantine.”
- Individuals should contact their travel provider for further information and assistance.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
- Those who have traveled to countries with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days who feel sick with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should seek immediate medical care but call ahead regarding recent travel and symptoms. Sick travelers should also avoid contact with others, avoid travel while sick, and practice good hygiene including hand washing and covering the nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve while coughing or sneezing.
Continue to monitor local media and our website. We are closely monitoring ongoing developments. Click here to sign up for coronavirus daily updates.
Our operations team is standing by 24/7/365 to provide travel assistance and advisory services to members. Contact Global Rescue at +1 617.459.4200 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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