Strong UK borders a factor in travel ban exemption, Donald Trump says

The US president has said the reason the UK was not included in his Covid-19 travel ban was down to its strong borders.

Donald Trump also indicated the 30-day prohibition on flights to the United States from continental Europe could be extended.

The president was speaking during a meeting with Irish Premier Leo Varadkar in the White House in Washington DC.

Ireland and the UK are not covered by the far-reaching travel restrictions announced by the president on Wednesday.

Mr Trump said one of the reasons the UK was not included in the travel ban was because of its borders.

Taoiseach visit to the US
President Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)

“It has got very strong borders and they are doing a very good job,” he said.

“They don’t have very much infection at this point and hopefully they will keep it that way.”

Mr Trump said he hoped the pandemic would “work out well for everyone”, but added there was reason to briefly restrict some movement between parts of the world.

“It is a world problem and we do need separation in terms of you have some areas that are very heavily infected and you have some areas that are not,” he said.

“We do need separation for a little period of time.”

In response to a reporter’s question over whether the 30-day limit could be extended, the US president said: “Sure, it is possible, it is possible.

“I could also say that we could do it earlier, we could end it earlier, but I thought it was an important thing to do because of what is happening over there (in Europe).”

During the exchanges in the Oval Office, Mr Varadkar, who was visiting the president as part of the annual St Patrick’s programme of events, said one of the reasons Ireland was exempted from the ban was the presence of US border security at Irish airports.

“I was through it myself yesterday.

“They were asking the right questions,” he said.

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