President Donald Trump said the UK may be added to the European travel ban he enacted Thursday to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Mr Trump suggested the change during a press conference Friday afternoon at which he declared a national emergency and invoked the Stafford Act.
A reporter pointed out that the UK has more coronavirus cases than many other countries that were added to the travel ban, and asked the president why they were exempted.
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“There are 17 countries that are in the so-called “Schengen zone” that have fewer coronavirus cases than in the UK. Just in the past 24 hours the UK has added 208 coronavirus cases to their total,” the reporter said. “Why, Mr President, were they exempted and are you considering adding them to this travel ban list?”
Mr Trump replied that the exemption was “recommended to him by a group of professionals” and that the White House is “looking at it” as a result of the increased number of coronavirus patients.
“We may have to include them in the list of countries we will – you could say ban or whatever it is – during this period of time. But yeah, their numbers have gone up fairly precipitously over the last 24 hours, so we may be adding them and may be adding a couple of others, and we may frankly start about taking some off,” Mr Trump said.
Mr Trump did not elaborate on which countries are being considered for addition or removal from the travel ban.