Coronavirus: European Union seals borders to most outsiders

The EU is banning travellers from outside the bloc for 30 days in an unprecedented move to seal its borders amid the coronavirus crisis.

The measure is expected to apply to 26 EU states as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. UK citizens will be unaffected.

The ban came as deaths continued to soar in Italy and Spain, and France began a strict lockdown.

Europe has been badly hit by the virus, which has killed 7,500 globally.

More than 185,000 people have been infected worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

What are the EU measures?

The travel ban will affect all non-EU nationals from visiting the bloc, except long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and people transporting goods.

Free travel is a cherished principle within the European border-free Schengen area. But in recent days many countries have unilaterally imposed full or partial border shutdowns in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

This prompted the commission to propose that the bloc act in a more unified fashion and restrict entry to the union as a whole, at the urging of French President Emmanuel Macron.

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