Trump introduces Europe to US travel restrictions to curb coronavirus spread

Published by Rhys Taylor-Brown on March 12th 2020, 9:09am

US president Donald Trump has placed new restrictions on people travelling to the US from Europe to try to halt the spread of Covid-19.

A presidential proclamation said that individuals travelling from the 26 countries in the Schengen zone would be unable to enter the US, thus excluding Ireland.

The ban applies to anyone who has been in the zone in a 14-day period before arriving in the US.

The UK, having left the EU and not being a part of the Schengen zone, is also unaffected.

US citizens will still retain the right to return from Europe during the ban.

Speaking from the Oval Office on Wednesday, Trump said: “To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe.

"The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight.”

The Republican president reassured on Twitter that trade would “in no way be affected”, adding that the restriction “stops people not goods”.

Earlier on Wednesday, the World Health Organization [WHO] had officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

As of Thursday morning, the US had confirmed 1,135 cases of coronavirus on its shores, with 38 dead.

The director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr Anthony Fauci, informed Congress that the outbreak "is going to get worse".

Trump called on Democrats and Republicans to pass tax relief measures in Congress to help cushion the impact of the outbreak on the economy, while also revealing plans to provide billions of dollars worth in loans to small businesses to help navigate the outbreak.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticised Trump for not addressing the lack of functional coronavirus testing kits in the US.

Pelosi said in a statement: "We have a public health crisis in this country and the best way to help keep the American people safe and ensure their economic security is for the president to focus on fighting the spread of the coronavirus itself".

However, vice-president Mike Pence has said that any American citizen "can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor's orders".

Pence also reassured that insurers would offset medical costs for any coronavirus related treatment.

Other measures have already been implemented elsewhere in the US. The National Basketball Association has suspended its season after one player tested positive for the virus, while the governor of Washington state - where 24 of the 38 coronavirus deaths in the US occurred - has suspended large gatherings of people across multiple counties.

Meanwhile, actor Tom Hanks tweeted that he and his wife tested positive for coronavirus in Australia and have now been quarantined.

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Authored By

Rhys Taylor-Brown
Junior Editor
March 12th 2020, 9:09am

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