The European Union blasted President Trump on Thursday for acting “unilaterally” to impose a 30-day suspension on travel to the US from European countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to improve a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said in a joint statement.
“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation,” the statement from the 27-member trading bloc said, adding that it was taking “strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”
Trump made the announcement during a prime-time address to the nation from the White House on Wednesday and blamed the European Union for not taking the “same precautions” as the US to contain the virus.
“As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe,” the president said. “To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.”
But Trump exempted the United Kingdom from the new rules that take effect at midnight Friday.
Vice President Mike Pence, who’s heading up the White House coronavirus task force, said Americans returning home from Europe will undergo screening at 13 airports and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Of European countries, Italy is the hardest hit.
It has instituted a massive lockdown on its 60 million citizens after more than 12,000 cases have been reported and the death toll has reached 827.
On Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel predicted that 70 percent of her country’s population could be infected by the virus – about 58 million people.
The US has more than 1,300 cases and 38 people have died from the virus.
With Post wires
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