Trump Restricts Travel from Europe Over Coronavirus Fears
Amid growing anxiety over the spread novel coronavirus, US President Donald Trump says he will suspend all travel from many European countries in a desperate effort to halt the pandemic. Trump announced the unprecedented travel ban Wednesday night during a nation-wide address. He also unveiled emergency economic measures including tax extensions without interest.
“We are going to be suspending all travel from Europe to the us for subsequent 30 days,” Trump said within the 10-minute address. “The new rules will enter effect Friday in the dark .”
The 30-day travel ban will take effect Friday and apply to travelers from the 26-country Schengen area, meaning visitors from countries like Ireland, Russia and the United Kingdom would not be barred, the White House clarified after Trump’s speech. Those who have visited the impacted countries within 14 days before their scheduled arrival in the United States will also be banned, the White House added.
Also, the State Department said late Wednesday that Americans should reconsider foreign travel due to the spreading new coronavirus. Trump spoke after US cases of COVID-19 topped 1,200 and deaths hit 38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged another 1,400 points Wednesday — down 20 percent after a record high just one month ago.
Analysts say the outbreak threatens Trump’s legacy and reelection outlook as he’s struggled to stop spread of the virus and its economic impact. Trump channeled optimism and patriotism, but at various points stumbled with delivery. His only other Oval Office address was to urge a border wall during a government shutdown.
“The virus won’t have an opportunity against us. No nation is more prepared, or more resilient,” Trump said. “We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unified together together nation, and one family.”
Trump said there would be limited exceptions to the Europe travel ban, which he said would be reassessed as the situation changes. He likened the measure to a January ban he imposed on foreigners who had been to China in the past 14 days.
“There are going to be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings,” Trump said. “And these prohibitions won’t only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo. But various other things as we get approval, anything coming from Europe to the us .”
He added: “these restrictions also will not apply to the uk .”
Trump, who met with bankers on Wednesday, said tax deferment will inject “$200 billion of additional liquidity into the economy” and that deferments would be allowed without interest for individuals and businesses. Trump also called on Congress to pass a payroll tax cut.
But Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to the speech calling on Republicans to pass legislation providing free coronavirus testing and paid emergency leave for workers, among other relief measures. “Alarmingly, the president didn’t say how the administration will address the shortage of coronavirus testing kits throughout the us ,” the 2 said during a statement.
There are significant clusters of infection in California, Florida, New York and Washington state. Trump said the clusters were “seeded” by travel from Europe, where there are large outbreaks in Italy, France, Germany and Spain.
Image Source: AFP