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The European Union will on Thursday (March 12) assess the travel ban on Europe imposed by United States President Donald Trump, European Council President Charles Michel said, adding:

"Economic disruption must be avoided."

The tweet by Mr Michel, who coordinates action by the leaders of the EU's 27 member states, followed an overnight decision by Mr Trump to suspend travel from Europe - but not Britain which is no longer part of the bloc - to the US for 30 days in a bid to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

"Following the travel ban President Trump announced, we will assess the situation today," Mr Michel said. 

Europe is taking all necessary measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus, limit the number of affected people and support research," he said. 

Mr Trump’s order is to be implemented from late Friday.

The White House said it would apply to non-US citizens and residents and would not be applied to goods. 

According to the last count from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control on Wednesday, more than 17,000 cases of infection of the new virus have been recorded across Europe, more than half of them in Italy, and there have been 711 Covid-19-related deaths. AFP