US President Donald Trump Wednesday announced suspension of all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days. The restriction will go into effect Friday March 13 at midnight, the president said in an Oval Office address.
“To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” Trump said.
The restrictions, the most far-reaching measure to combat the spread of coronavirus, will not apply to the U.K.
There will be exemptions for Americans “who have undergone appropriate screenings,” Trump said. The restrictions will not apply to trade and cargo.
The restriction applies to all foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries — Austra, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and many others — in the last 14 days prior to their arrival to the US. The ban does not apply to green card holders or those who have immediate US citizen family members.
Acting DHS secretary Chad Wolf applauded the president’s actions in a statement, saying that it would protect the American people.
“The actions President Trump is taking to deny entry to foreign nationals who have been in affected areas will keep Americans safe and save American lives,” Wolf said.
The president scheduled the remarks to lay out his plan for dealing with the rapid spread of a disease he labeled a “foreign virus” that has led to more than 1,100 infections in the U.S. and ravaged markets.
The announcement came hours after the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a pandemic and urged governments to step up containment efforts as the number of worldwide cases topped 123,000 and deaths exceeded 4,500 as of Wednesday March 11.
The president asked Congress to take action to deliver paid sick leave to hourly workers who risk their livelihoods if they stay home. He also recommended that nursing homes curtail non-medically necessary visits.
Trump said he is deferring tax payments for certain individuals and businesses affected by the virus. He said the deferments would provide $200 billion in additional liquidity.
Trump added that he is instructing the Small Business Administration to provide emergency capital to affected firms.
“Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow,” he said.