On Wednesday evening, March 11, 2020, President Trump announced a ban on travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, a sweeping new measure that will take effect on at midnight on Friday, March 13, 2020. Travel from the United Kingdom will be exempt from the ban, and there will be exceptions for Americans who have undergone health screenings. Currently, Americans entering from banned countries, such as China and Iran, are required to enter through designated airports, so they may undergo health screenings and, if needed, quarantine procedures.
The president’s announcement followed the World Health Organization’s classification of COVID-19 as a pandemic earlier in the day from Geneva. The novel coronavirus, which was unknown to world health officials three months ago, has spread to more than 121,000 people worldwide, with the tally of known fatalities at over 4,300.
“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,” the president declared during the prime-time address to the nation from the Oval Office Wednesday night.
The latest US travel ban stemming from COVID-19 is being launched at a time when over 100 countries have national travel restrictions in place, in addition to suspension of commercial, academic, and governmental activities, visa issuance freezes, unprecedented event cancellations, and widespread health and quarantine procedures, all of which raise legal, economic, and personal liberty issues.