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12 Mar, 2020 15:42

‘I had to move quickly’: Trump explains travel ban without consulting EU, says Britain excluded for GOOD JOB on coronavirus

‘I had to move quickly’: Trump explains travel ban without consulting EU, says Britain excluded for GOOD JOB on coronavirus

US President Donald Trump says he imposed the sweeping travel ban on EU countries without consulting them because he “had to move fast,” adding that he exempted the UK because it was doing a “good job.”

The president explained he did not have time to consult with EU countries before imposing the 30-day travel ban announced on Wednesday night after the body condemned the unexpected decision on Thursday.

Trump excluded the UK from the broad restrictions because London was doing a “good job” combating the coronavirus epidemic, he told reporters.

Also on rt.com Trump suspends ALL travel from Europe for 30 days starting Friday as he addresses nation on coronavirus

The UK has counted 590 cases of the virus so far, with 10 deaths - hardly numbers to boast about, but less dire than the situation in Italy or Germany.

Trump reprised his boast about taking the “boldest step of all” by closing borders with China before noting Europe “has some hot spots that are really bad.” He mentioned Germany, France, and Italy before concluding on an optimistic note: “we think we’ll reestablish pretty quickly once this ends.

Responding to a reporter’s question on why he hadn’t consulted individual European countries about the travel ban, Trump said, “when they raise taxes on us, they don’t consult us, and I think that’s probably one and the same.”

After the sudden announcement roiled markets on Thursday, Trump clarified that he might shorten or lengthen the 30-day timeframe of the ban, set to take effect on Friday.

He expressed hope that travel between the US and Europe, as well as the US and China, could be restored “very quickly.” The president also opined on the Tokyo Olympics, suggesting they be postponed for a year because he couldn’t imagine holding them without spectators.

European officials condemned the US decision to impose a ban “unilaterally and without consultation.” European Council and European Commission Presidents Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen insisted the EU was “taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”

Also on rt.com Coronavirus will fade away by June if countries take urgent action, China Covid-19 adviser predicts

The EU has largely left member states to fend for themselves with regard to decisive response to the epidemic. EU leaders in a conference call on Tuesday merely agreed to prevent shortages of medical equipment and promote vaccine development, as well as creating a fund to offset the economic impact of the epidemic. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested 60 to 70 percent of the population will be infected, but has not made any moves toward imposing travel restrictions or closing borders. France’s Emmanuel Macron has criticized Austria and Slovakia for closing their own borders with coronavirus-stricken Italy, but French officials have hinted they plan to shift to a “Phase 3” response - the highest level of government action - soon. Italy, the hardest-hit of all EU countries, has imposed a nationwide lockdown, shuttering shops and restaurants and advising all residents to stay home and avoid travel for the rest of the month as the death toll jumped to 631 on Wednesday.

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