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COVID-19: EU executive proposes closing external borders until May 15

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Key EU interior ministers seek to resolve Mediterranean rescue crisis
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The European Union’s executive wants to stop all non-essential foreign travel into the bloc until May 15, extending current restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“While we can see encouraging first results, prolonging the travel restriction is necessary to continue reducing the risks of the disease spreading further,” European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said in a statement on Wednesday.

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On March 17, all EU member states except Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, decided to impose the measure for an initial 30 days. It is up to individual capitals to decide on the proposed extension.

Exemptions apply to long-term EU residents, family members of EU nationals, diplomats and some health care workers, among others.

Any decision to extend the restrictions again beyond May 15 would have to be assessed “based on the evolution of the epidemiological situation,” the commission said.

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