(File photo: CGTN)
BRUSSELS, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The European Commission on Friday invited the member and associated states of the Schengen area without border controls -- a total of 30 countries -- to extend the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the European Union (EU) for another 30 days, until June 15.
The Commission first invited the heads of state or government on March 16 to introduce the entry ban, which doesn't apply to doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, researchers or experts helping to cope with the coronavirus, as well as persons carrying goods, frontier workers and seasonal agricultural workers.
The de facto entry ban, as well as the invitation to extend it, applies to all EU member states except Ireland (Schengen member states), as well as four Schengen associated states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland).
The coronavirus pandemic situation remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide, so continued measures are still needed at the external borders to reduce the risk of the disease spreading through travel, the EU executive said.