UK and Ireland added to US travel ban amid COVID-19 concerns

In a press conference yesterday, featuring a parade of executives from companies like CVS and Target, Trump hinted at the possibility of adding the U.K. and Ireland to a growing list of countries banned from U.S. travel. During a followup presser today helmed by Presidential COVID-19 point person, Mike, Pence, the additions were made official.

The Vice President noted that the decision was made following “unanimous recommendation” from health officials. “The President has made a decision to suspend all travel to the United Kingdom and Ireland, effective midnight Monday, EST,” Pence announced, adding, “Americans in the UK and Ireland can come home […] but they will be funneled through specific airports and processes.”

Those are the usual caveats for the recent string of bans. In many cases, returning citizens have been subject to screenings to ensure that they’re not harboring the virus. The moves are intended to reflect the spread of the virus.

“If you look at what was formally the main feeder of this outbreak. They have 80,000 cases but only 11 new cases and seven new deaths,” immunologist Anthony Fauci said, following Pence. “Things have switched over from China now and that is what has switched over the travel restrictions. You will see a curve of how the coronavirus outbreak evolved…we’ve seen it already with China and we’re starting to see it with Korea.”

The U.K. and Ireland were previously spared from the 30 day European travel ban. The list previously included,

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.