EU leaders agree to shut down travel into the bloc for 30 days in a bid to stem coronavirus pandemic – as queues of up to 40 miles form at borders WITHIN the continent amid stringent new controls
- Most foreigners will be banned from entering EU for the next 30 days
- EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen says move had ‘a lot of support’
- Travel ban has ‘very, very limited exceptions,’ says Angela Merkel
- The UK will be invited to join the measure, along with the Republic of Ireland
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
EU leaders have agreed to shut down the bloc’s external borders to all non-essential travel for the next 30 days in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The decision comes after the death toll in the UK soared from 16 to 71 on Tuesday, while in Italy – the European epicentre – there were another 345 deaths, taking its total to 2,503.
Tonight the leaders of the European Union’s nations agreed to institute a travel ban that blocks most foreigners from entering the bloc for the next month, with immediate effect.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the proposal by EU officials ‘got a lot of support by the member states. It’s up to them now to implement. They said they will immediately do that.’
There are already border controls within the European Union, above, Lithuanian border guards stand next to trucks on the border with Poland, on Tuesday the EU ordered a travel ban for most foreigners coming from outside the EU, effective immediately
Lorries were stuck in queues of nearly 40 miles on the Lithuanian-Polish border today (Tuesday). EU Commission President has urged the flow of goods to be ‘swift’ across the continent as citizens continue to cope with the coronavirus pandemic
Trucks were tailing back for more than six miles on the A12 motorway from the town of Frankfurt toward the border with Poland. Poland has closed its borders to foreigners for 10 days and today the EU announced its external borders were closing for 30 days
The UK is expected to be invited to join the measure, along with the Republic of Ireland.
To the east, borders with Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine have been shut, in central Switzerland’s borders with the EU will also be closed.
EU leaders agreed on Tuesday to shut down the 27-nation’s bloc’s external borders immediately.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that European leaders agreed in a conference call to the Commission’s proposal for an entry ban with ‘very, very limited exceptions’.
Foreign motorists were protesting at the Austrian border checkpoint in Hegyeshalom, northwestern Hungary on Tuesday after a 12 mile queue of cars sat waiting on the Austrian side of the border
EU President of Council Charles Michel chaired the coronavirus meeting with leaders of EU member countries via teleconference on Tuesday evening. Leaders across the bloc were behind a plan to close external borders to most travel
EU Commission president President Ursula von der Leyen says the decision has had ‘a lot of support by the member states’. She is pictured speaking in Brussells earlier this month
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, pictured at a press conference on Tuesday evening, said she had spoken with EU leaders and heads of state about closing the external borders of the 27-state bloc
A journalist is protected by a mask and gloves as he attends the EU press conference this evening. EU leaders announced they would be banning most travel into the bloc for the next 30 days with immediate effect
There were empty seats as the EU’s press conference got underway on Tuesday. Earlier in the day EU leaders had met with each other over teleconference to discuss a new travel ban to stop the spread of coronavirus
The EU leaders also agreed to coordinate the repatriation of EU citizens stranded outside the bloc, she said.
The EU bloc immediately borders countries such as Belarus, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine to the east. Further west there are borders with Switzerland and Andorra.
South east there are borders with Albania, Bosnia, Serbia and Turkey.
Internal borders within the EU have been suffering with traffic jams today as lorries try and get into neighbouring countries.
Up to 40 miles of queues have been reported on the Lithuanian-Polish border, while similar traffic jams have disrupted travel over Germany and Poland and Hungarian-Austrian travel.
President Von der Leyen told a conference this evening: ‘It’s absolutely crucial we unblock the situation because we know that too many people are stranded within the EU and have a problem getting back home.
‘The flow of goods needs to be swift, we need these goods for the functioning of the internal market.’