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CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech Republic bans travellers from 15 countries including France and Germany

The Czech Republic on Thursday declared a 30-day state of emergency and closed its borders to people from 15 "risk countries" to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Czech Republic bans travellers from 15 countries including France and Germany
The centre of Prague. Photo: DPA

The government also banned its citizens from entering the so-called risk zones, which include France and Germany. Both countries reported over 2,200 coronavirus cases each as of Thursday afternoon.

Gatherings of more than 30 people were also barred in the country, which has so far confirmed 96 cases and no deaths.

“We are also banning theatre, music, film and other performances, sports, cultural, religious, community, dancing, traditional events and other meetings,” Prime Minister Andrej Babis said. 

Restaurants will shutter from between 8 pm and 6 am and all gyms, swimming pools, clubs and libraries will also be closed to the public.

Schools, theatres, cinemas and galleries have already been closed across the Czech Republic.

The state of emergency would be in effect from 2 pm on Thursday, while the ban on events takes effect on Friday morning.

In announcing the new sweeping measures, the prime minister listed the “risk countries” as China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, and France.

The Czech travel ban followed an announcement on Wednesday from President Donald Trump that travellers from most European countries would be barred from entering the US for 30 days, starting on Friday.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus: What you need to know about Trump's Europe travel ban

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MUSLIMS

Will French citizens be next in line for a Trump travel ban?

US President Donald Trump has stunned the world with his travel ban targeting Muslim countries but could he go further? He's suggested in the past that he might be in favour of suspending immigration from France because "it's been compromised by terrorism".

Will French citizens be next in line for a Trump travel ban?
Photo: AFP

Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting citizens from Muslim countries took everyone by surprise at the weekend, even though in his election campaign Trump said he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

The newly-installed US president has angrily insisted that the ban is not against Muslims, even though all the countries on the list are Muslim-majority countries. He says the executive order is a measure taken to fight terrorism.

“This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” he said.

But what else will he do to “keep the country safe”?

He suggested in his election campaign that in order to keep the US “safe” he would look to tighten the rules around those travelling to the US from France.

In July last year Trump suggested the United States could suspend immigration from what he called countries “compromised by terrorism” (including France) until vetting mechanisms were in place.

“We have problems in Germany, and we have problems in France” – both countries rocked by fatal attacks claimed by the Isis group.

When asked specifically if the proposal would limit immigration from France, he said: “They have been compromised by terrorism.”

“And you know why? It's their own fault. Because they allowed people to come into their territory.”

While some of those who attacked Paris were from foreign countries, including Iraq and Belgium, several others were French nationals.

It appears many French citizens with dual-nationality for countries like Somalia, Iran and others on the list will already be impacted by the ban. Air France said it had blocked some 15 passengers from travelling to the US.

While Britain seems to have got an exemption to the travel ban for its citizens with dual citizenship for one of the country's on the list, it is not clear whether the French government has obtained the same exception.

If Trump’s measures are really to tackle the threat of terrorism, then the list of seven countries may only just be the start of a crackdown on those entering the US.

Although as many have noted, countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt where the September 9/11 attackers were from, were not included on his black list.

French terrorism expert François-Bernard Huyghe said it would really be a “shock” if Trump restricted travel from France.

“But if they really wanted to fight terrorism, they would have to ban citizens from every country,” Huyghe pointed out.

 

 

 

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