Coronavirus: Europe plans full border closure in virus battle

The European Commission is planning to ban all non-essential travel throughout Europe’s Schengen free-travel zone as more countries close their borders to try to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she would ask leaders to implement the measures on Tuesday.

“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus,” she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron earlier said the EU’s external borders would be closed to travellers.

“Concretely, all trips between non-European countries and EU countries will be suspended,” Mr Macron said in a televised address on Monday.

Long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats would be exempt as well as cross-border and healthcare workers and people transporting goods, Ms von der Leyen said during a video conference.

The measures would be in place for at least 30 days.

The Schengen agreement allows people to move freely between EU countries without border checks. Citizens of non-Schengen EU member states will also be invited to apply the travel ban, including the UK.

The comments came ahead a video-summit with EU leaders on Tuesday hosted by European Council chief Charles Michel.

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