Coronavirus crisis as European Union bans all but essential travel to continent

The EU is set to enact a lockdown across 30 member states in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

European Commission head Von der Leyen says the EU is to introduce temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to EU for 30 days.

The EU official says the EU travel ban proposal would not apply to UK citizens, however the border closure will cover 30 countries and "Ireland and Britain are encouraged to align".

She told a press conference: "The UK citizens are European citizens so of course there are no restrictions for the UK citizens to travel to the continent."

The European Union's executive on Monday proposed a 30-day ban on incoming travel for foreigners to the bloc to battle the spread of coronavirus.

"The less travel, the more we can contain the virus.

"Therefore … I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU," said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

"These travel restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days, but can be prolonged as necessary."

She said exemptions included long-term EU residents, family members of EU nationals, diplomats, doctors and researchers working on containing the health crisis.

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It follows France and Spain joining Italy in imposing lockdowns on tens of millions of people.

The numbers of cases of COVID-19 continue to rocket across Europe. Globally over 174,100 have been infected and nearly 6,700 have died.

Italy recorded 368 more deaths from the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, the biggest one day toll anywhere so far, including China. Italy now has recorded 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths.

COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways, causing pneumonia which can prove fatal.

It is believed to be ten times more deadly than seasonal flu.

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