UPDATED ON 03/15/2020
Trump just announced a travel ban on flights from Europe, which will go into effect on Friday March 13 at midnight EST for Continental Europe and Monday March 16 at midnight for UK and Ireland. Here is what we know so far:
- The ban goes into effect Friday March 13 at Midnight EST
- The ban as of this moment will last for 30 days
- As of 03/14/2020, UK and Ireland have been included in the travel ban.
- US Citizens who have been screened “properly” will be excluded from the ban (Do Italy’s departure medical checks count? THEY DON’T)
- The ban doesn’t include CARGO as originally stated.
The full briefing can be found at this link and anywhere online for that matter.
During the conference there was not much discussion about how the government will battle the disease at home. While travel bans and isolationist policies are almost inescapable at this point, with the fast spread of disease, there is no doubt that the U.S lags behind all other countries in testing for Coronavirus. Just look at the available COVID-19 tests per million people. Even British Columbia (a province in Canada) appears on the list higher than the United States:
Having said this, this press release from the White House really brings up a lot of questions (these are just a few off the top of my head):
- How will the airline industry handle the crazy traffic, they are about to see for the next 2 days, for people trying to come back to the U.S?
- Can people just transit Europe through the UK to reach America? No they cannot do so, although there will be a grace period for Americans to return to the US,
- What does he mean by “properly” screened US citizens? As of this moment (3/15/2020) looks like long lines at the six designated airports and a temperature check with “quick” history
- Does the ban include restrictions for people with permanent residency or work in the United States? No it doesn’t include restrictions for them.
- Was a cargo ban necessary on top of the travel restrictions? If so what are the exclusions? The cargo ban isn’t happening
Over the past 24 hours we have seen India, Kuwait, and Qatar shut down their borders to foreigners. Let’s not forget that all of Italy is under quarantine. We are truly entering unprecedented times and the leadership and response from the US government has been lackluster at best so far.