ALL non-essential foreign travel into the European Union is to be banned, as the continent struggles to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The phrase "non-essential travel" has been severally used in efforts to battle the spread of the virus – but what does it actually mean?
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What is non-essential travel?
There is a grey area concerning the definition of non-essential travel.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not lay out exactly what the phrase means.
Instead, FCO says: "whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. You may have urgent family or business commitments to attend to. Circumstances differ from person to person."
In its travel advice guidance, the FCO goes on to say only an individual can make the decision as to whether travel is essential.
In other words, it is up to a person to determine whether travel is important enough to override travel advice.
Why is the EU considering banning non-essential travel?
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European commission is expected to launch the ban on foreign travel into the whole European Union.
This is in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which has affected nearly 54,500 people in Europe and resulted in thousands of fatalities.
Italy is the most affected nation in the EU with 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths recorded.
Speaking of the measure, EU commision president said: "The less travel, the more we can contain the virus. Therefore, as I have just informed our G7 partners, I propose to introduce temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU."
There has been more than 175,769 cases worldwide.
77,000 people have been confirmed to have recovered , however, more than 6,700 people have died.
Travel has dramatically decreased as several countries in the European Union impose travel restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of the deadly bug.
EU countries including Italy, Spain, France and Ireland have all been put on lockdown as the disease rips through the continent.
What does it mean if I have travel plans to Europe?
The ban means there will be a restriction to all travel into countries in the EU will be restricted.
Foreign travellers coming into the EU will be affected, however British citizens will NOT be included in the ban, despite exiting the European Union in January 2020.
Speaking of the ban, the EU commission chief said: "UK citizens are European citizens, there are no restrictions for UK citizens to travel to the continent."
There are exceptions to the new ban including long term residents in the EU and family members of EU nationals.
Diplomats, doctors, nurses and researches are also excluded from the ban.
How long will the ban be in place?
According to the Eu Commission president, the ban will be temporary with an initial period of 30 days.
She also added that this can be prolonged if it is deemed necessary.
She said: "We have to take exceptional measures to protect the health of our citizens. But let's make sure goods and essential services continue to flow in our internal market. This is the only way to prevent shortages of medical equipment or food."
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