President Donald Trump’s European travel ban will be extended to the U.K. and Ireland at midnight on Monday — a move that will pose further challenges for the local film and TV industry, which is scrambling to draw up contingency plans across production and broadcasting.
Trump extended the ban Saturday following an emergency coronavirus meeting, a day after he admitted he would “likely” get tested for the virus, which he may have contracted from a Brazilian press aide who has tested positive.
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The White House, which declared a national emergency Friday that could release up to $50 billion to fight the outbreak, had previously said Trump and vice-president Mike Pence would not be tested.
Trump’s 30-day European travel ban, which came into effect Friday, initially applied to 26 European countries, including France, Italy, Germany and Spain, but excluded countries outside the Schengen Zone, such as the U.K. and Ireland.
However, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in the U.K. is steadily climbing, with 21 reported Saturday, up from 11 on Friday. Overall, the country is reporting 1,140 positive cases, although the true extent of cases is believed to be in the range of 5,000-10,000.
Meanwhile, Ireland, which has 90 confirmed cases, has now closed all schools and colleges.
In the U.K., a gatherings ban is expected to go into place next week, with government currently drawing up plans. However, it’s still unclear what the parameters of the ban will be.
The spread of coronavirus has so far prompted far-reaching work-from-home policies across local broadcasters and streamers that will largely go into effect Monday for an indefinite period of time. Production is also showing signs of strain, with Disney suspending filming on “The Little Mermaid” at Pinewood.
However, cinemas have yet to close as of Saturday evening, with only the Showtime theater chain enacting a social distancing policy — a move that aligns with its sister chain in the U.S. The business is owned by National Amusements.
Most live shows, such as ITV’s “Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway” variety show, are still going ahead as planned with studio audiences, as revealed by Variety.
Theater is also staying open in London, with big West End theater firms, such as “Hamilton” and “Les Miserables” producer Delfont Mackintosh tweeting Friday that no plans are yet in place to close productions or theaters.
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