March 19, 2020
The president of the European Commission admitted that leaders in the EU “underestimated” the scale of the coronavirus outbreak, as the bloc has closed its external borders to foreign travellers.
On Tuesday, Ursula von der Leyen said that Europe is now the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic and that measures which seemed “drastic” and “draconian” just weeks ago are now necessary to fight the spread of the killer virus.
“I think we all, who are not experts, initially underestimated the coronavirus. But in the meantime it has also become clear that this is a virus that will keep us busy for a long time,” von der Leyen told the German newspaper, Bild.
“It’s very difficult, but I think the population is doing well with it,” she added.
European leaders agreed to shut down the external border to the EU, banning foreign travellers from entering the bloc for an initial 30-day period. Non-EU Schengen countries Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein were also asked to abide by the entry ban.
“First, it is important that no more people come to Europe, get sick, and continue to burden the health system. Our health system is already extremely stressed. And the reverse also applies: people who have travelled to Europe and then leave again and possibly take the virus with them, this is also a threat to the world as a whole,” von der Leyen said.
This article was posted: Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 4:46 am