GP: Angela Merkel coronavirus presser 200317
German Chancellor Angela Merkel makes a press statement on the spread of the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Chancellery, in Berlin on March 17, 2020.
John MacDougall | AFP | Getty Images
KEY POINTS
  • Leaders of European Union countries have agreed to close the EU’s external borders to most people from other countries for 30 days in a new effort to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Movement within European Union member nations will be still be allowed.
  • On Monday, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said he was closing his nation’s borders to foreigners, with the major exception of U.S. citizens.
European Union member nations agreed Tuesday to close the EU’s external borders to most people from other countries for 30 days in a dramatic new effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the planned closings of the massive union’s external borders at a press conference.

Movement of people within the European Union’s 27 member nations will still be allowed under the restrictions.

Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission said the United Kingdom is not applying restrictions to their external borders, even though it had been invited to do so.

European Commission 🇪🇺

@EU_Commission

Press conference following the EU leaders’ video conference on with President @vonderleyen and @eucopresident Michel ↓https://www.pscp.tv/w/1gqxvEBeBWBJB

European Commission @EU_Commission

Press conference on coronavirus

pscp.tv

The travel restrictions are due start as soon as the individual governments take the necessary internal measures, with Germany expected to do so by the end of Tuesday.

The restrictions are not applied to medical staff, medicines nor goods.

“The union and its member states will do whatever it takes,” said European Council President Charles Michel.

Michel said the EU will arrange for the repatriation of citizens of member countries.

Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission said the United Kingdom is not applying restrictions to their external borders, even though it had been invited to do so.

The EU is an economic and political union of most of the countries in Europe, including Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Benelux nations, Austria, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and all Scandavian countries with the exception of Norway.

Great Britain previously was an EU member before Brexit. Switzerland is another conspicuous non-member, as are most of the former component nations of communist Yugoslavia, with the exception of Croatia and Slovenia.

On Monday, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said he was closing his nation’s borders to foreigners, with the major exception of U.S. citizens.

Also Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered people in that nation to stay at home for up to 15 days, except for essential needs.