Washington - President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would restrict travel from 26 European countries to contain the spread of the coronavirus. However, his message caused confusion and disappointment in Congress, Wall Street, and allied countries.
Trump announced a ban on travel from all European Union countries except Ireland. In his speech, he only specified the exclusion of the United Kingdom, which is no longer part of that economic community.
His message further alarmed the international community as the President indicated the ban would include the transport of cargo and products, he then specified minutes later on Twitter that it would apply to "people, not goods".
The travel ban, to be implemented at midnight tonight, excludes "legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation," said Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.
"The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent," they said European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a statement, criticizing the fact that Trump's announcement was made without consultation and that its consequences are unilateral.
Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, warned that "temporarily shutting off travel from Europe is going to exacerbate the already-heavy impact of coronavirus on the travel industry and the 15.7 million Americans whose jobs depend on travel."
According to the Association, just in March 2019, European visitors to the United States represented 29 percent of travelers and an economic impact of $3.4 billion.
On the other hand, Aerostar Airport Holdings, the company that manages Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, indicated this facility has four weekly flights connecting Puerto Rico to Europe: three from Iberia Airlines in Madrid, Spain, and one from Condor in Frankfurt, Germany. Until yesterday, both airlines continued their regular itineraries. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company did not comment on the issue.
Reporter Rut N. Tellado collaborated with this story.