US travel ban ‘to extend to United Kingdom and Ireland’; Coveney updates travel advice

President Trump confirmed he was tested for coronavirus and defended shaking hands.

US travel ban ‘to extend to United Kingdom and Ireland’; Coveney updates travel advice

The White House is expected to announce that the US will broaden its European travel ban, adding the United Kingdom and Ireland to its list.

Under the restrictions, American citizens, green card holders and others are still allowed to return home to the US – but will be funnelled to 13 airports and be subjected to health screenings and quarantine orders, according to reports.

US vice president Mike Pence confirmed the ban on travel from the UK and Ireland.

He said: “In our taskforce meeting today the president has made a decision to suspend all travel to the UK and Ireland, effective midnight Monday night, eastern standard time.”

Mr Pence said there had been a “unanimous recommendation” from health experts to extend the travel ban.

“Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home, legal residents can come home … they will will be funnelled through specific airports and processed.”

Irish airline Aer Lingus said: “We’re assessing the impact of new US government restrictions announced today on travel from Ireland and the UK to the United States.

"We will communicate directly with affected guests as soon as possible.

“All travel before 31 May can be changed to a later date and/or destination. No change fees apply. A fare difference may apply.”

On Wednesday, President Trump announced a month-long restriction on travel from most of Europe, set to begin at midnight on Friday night.

He said on Thursday that he was considering other major restrictions, such as limiting travel to domestic hot spots like California and Washington state, without spelling out how he would manage such an extraordinary effort.

The State Department issued a global advisory cautioning US citizens to “reconsider travel abroad”.

Meanwhile, the Tánaiste says Irish citizens should exercise a high degree of caution when making travel plans, particularly in Europe.

In a statement, Simon Coveney says a growing number of countries are also imposing restrictions on entry and exit.

His department is now advising against non-essential travel to the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia.

It will also be providing additional guidance on Spain which remains at non-essential travel, while Italy remains at no travel.

The Department's consular advice line will be open through the weekend and Irish embassies and consulates will be using social media to keep citizens informed.

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