US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — Donald Trump’s decision to ban nationals from 26 European countries from traveling to the United States due to the coronavirus epidemic sparked panic and confusion on Thursday. European airports.
Some travelers, taken aback, rushed to the airports before the entry into force of the decree Friday at midnight (Saturday 04:00 GMT) while the airlines, already affected by a health crisis that left more than 4,600 dead in the were not prepared for such an announcement.
The American decree, signed Wednesday, prohibits nationals of twenty-six European countries, excluding in particular Great Britain and Ireland, from traveling to the United States for a period of 30 days.
But the situation also worries American nationals present in Europe, who fear that they will not be able to return home if the flights are massively canceled.
Jon Lindfors, who works for a hydraulic equipment company, and who was due to return to the United States on Saturday after a seven-day visit to France, rushed to Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle on Thursday morning to climb in the first available aircraft.
“We didn’t understand what Trump meant. His statement was ill-prepared and poorly worded,” he told Reuters in the long line that had formed at the Air France counter (PA: AIRF ).
After hinting in his speech that “trade and freight” from Europe would also be banned, Donald Trump retracted his remarks by assuring soon after on Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ) that “trade will not (it) in no way affected”.
This flip-flop added to the confusion, said Jon Lindfors. “Trump said it is not a health crisis but it is, that it is not an economic crisis but it is. No one believes what he is saying.”
A crew member on a Delta Airlines flight to New York admitted that the decree signed by Donald Trump had taken the American company by surprise.
“It will cause gigantic chaos,” he predicted. “We were not expecting such an event. We are not yet measuring its full scope.”
An Air France spokesperson told Reuters that the company should make a decision by the end of the day on whether or not to continue its flights to the United States beyond Friday.
PANIC AT MADRID AIRPORT
At Madrid Airport, Anna Grace, a 20-year-old American student traveling for the first time in Europe, has decided to change her reservation to return to the United States instead of going to France. Trump’s announcement “sowed panic,” she said.
Cristina Elvira, a retiree traveling to Miami, said she was relieved to leave Spain, where the epidemic is progressing at high speed, the country having become the third European center behind Italy and France.
“We are fortunate to be able to leave Europe,” she said when checking in for her flight.
Other travelers wondered about the conditions of their arrival in the United States.
“I had to change my ticket and advance my trip, otherwise I would have found myself in front of a closed border,” says Miguel Paracuellos, a Spanish working in the United States, who criticizes the American president for taking refuge behind an external enemy, in the case of Europe, lack of jurisdiction.
Donald Trump said he had to act because the European Union had not taken adequate steps to stop the spread of the virus.
The European Union said on Thursday that it disapproved of the US unilateral decision and that it was taking “strong” measures to limit the spread of the disease.
Contact us: [email protected]
Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.