The UK and Ireland have been excluded from a sweeping transatlantic travel ban on countries in Europe’s Schengen region announced by US president Donald Trump on Wednesday (11 March).
The new US travel restrictions, designed to curb the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, will come into effect on Friday at midnight said Trump in a televised address. The measures will not apply to US citizens and members of their family.
Foreign nationals, though, from any of the 26 countries in Europe’s Schengen area are now effectively banned from travelling to the US. The restrictions will remain in place for an initial 30 days.
Trump described the measures as “strong but necessary”. It is unclear at this stage why the UK and Ireland have been excluded; the UK currently has 459 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and Ireland 43 – significantly more than several of the nations whose nationals have been banned from travelling to the US.
The Foreign Office is yet to issue any updated travel advice, but it notes around 3.8 million British nationals visit the US every year.