European Union nations agreed Tuesday to immediately seal the bloc’s external borders to most foreign visitors for 30 days in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said leaders from the 27 nations agreed in a conference call to the proposal for an entry ban that has “very, very limited exceptions.”

Merkel said the group, however, will also make an exception to visitors from non-members Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and the UK.

Long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats will also be exempt. The ban won’t be enforced on transportation or healthcare workers, either.

The EU leaders have also agreed to work to repatriate EU citizens who are stranded outside of the bloc.

A Polish police officer, wearing a protective mask, stands at the border between Germany and Poland, during coronavirus symptoms testing for people returning to Poland.
A Polish police officer, wearing a protective mask, stands at the border between Germany and Poland, during coronavirus symptoms testing for people returning to Poland.Reuters

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the proposal “got a lot of support by the member states.”

“It’s up to them now to implement,” von der Leyen said. “They said they will immediately do that.”

COVID-19’s case count has surged in Europe to over 50,000 with more than 2,000 people dead.

With Post wires