U.S extends travel ban to UK, Ireland

…as Denmark closes border to foreigners

The United Kingdom and Ireland are no more exempted from the 30-day European travel ban imposed by US President Donald Trump to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The original ban went into effect midnight Friday.

Now, the extended ban on travel from the U.K. for people who are not U.S. citizens or green card holders will go into effect Monday at midnight.

“All of our health experts presented information … made a unanimous recommendation to the president that we suspend all travel from the U.K. and Ireland,” Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday in a White House press briefing.

“We’re looking at it very seriously because they’ve had a little bit of activity, unfortunately, so we’re going to be looking at that,” Trump said in remarks Saturday. “Actually, we already have looked at it.”

The UK and Ireland are also affected by the virus. While Ireland has 90 cases, the UK has 1,140 cases as at Saturday morning, with 21 deaths and 342 new cases on Friday.

Meanwhile, Denmark on Saturday recorded its first coronavirus death as it closed its borders to foreigners in order to slow the spread of the disease.

The fatality “was a person aged 81 years who was hospitalized for other serious illnesses,” said officials at the hospital where the patient was treated.

The death is the fifth COVID-19 fatality in the Nordic countries. Two people have already died in Sweden and two in Norway.

Denmark also became the latest country to take dramatic steps to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease, closing its borders to all non-resident foreigners for a month.

“All tourists and foreigners who cannot prove that they have a valid reason to come to Denmark will not be allowed to enter,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Friday when the ban was announced.

Police said that around 20 people were refused entry after the measure came into effect at noon Saturday.

At Copenhagen airport, passengers said that strict controls were in place for those entering the country.

Only Danes and other permanent residents were let through, as well as others with a “compelling reason” to come into the country.

Trade imports and exports are not affected.

The government on Wednesday unveiled a string of measures to limit the impact of the pandemic, which has now seen more than 150,000 worldwide infected with COVID-19 and caused over 5,000 deaths.

Schools, universities and libraries have been closed in Denmark and civil servants have been asked to stay at home.

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