Coronavirus: US travel ban on 26 European countries comes into force

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President Donald Trump's travel ban on 26 European nations has come into force in the US, as part of a contingency plan to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

It affects countries that are members of the Schengen border-free travel area and excludes the UK, the Republic of Ireland and returning US citizens.

Mr. Trump also declared a national emergency, freeing up to $50bn (£40bn) in relief funds.

There are nearly 2,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US and 43 deaths.

Mr. Trump's administration has faced criticism for its failure to provide Americans with widespread coronavirus testing.

Mr. Trump's administration has faced criticism for its failure to provide Americans with widespread coronavirus testing.
In other developments on Saturday:
  • In New Zealand, PM Jacinda Ardern said anyone entering the country from midnight on Sunday must self-isolate for 14 days; people from small South Pacific islands would be exempt
  • In Australia, the number of confirmed cases rose to 200, with three deaths
  • In China, health authorities said there were 13 deaths and 11 new cases
  • South Korea reported more recoveries (204) than new infections - the second day in a row
  • Colombia said it would close its border with Venezuela at 05:00 (10:00 GMT) and bar any visitors who had recently been in Europe or Asia
  • In the UK, mass gatherings could be banned as early as next weekend, government sources said
Separately, Washington on Friday summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest against comments by a Chinese diplomat that the US military might have brought the virus to China.
The coronavirus originated in China's Hubei province late last year.
But the daily rates of new infections have been slowing in China, making Europe the new "epicenter" of the pandemic.

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