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President Trump Announces 30-Day Ban on Travel from Europe over Coronavirus Threat

President Donald Trump speaks about the response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic during an address to the nation from the Oval Office, March 11, 2020. (Doug Mills/Pool via Reuters)

President Trump announced sweeping new travel restrictions in an address to the nation Wednesday, instituting a 30-day travel ban from Europe to the U.S. in an effort to battle the coronavirus outbreak.

“We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” Trump stated from the Oval Office, saying the ruling would go into effect Friday at midnight. He added that the ban did not apply to the U.K.

“We made a life-saving move with early action on China, now we must take the same action with Europe. If we are diligent . . . the virus will not have a chance against us,” Trump said. In January, the administration announced a temporary ban on foreign nationals attempting to enter the country from China.

Trump later clarified that the travel restrictions did not apply to trade and commerce, despite implying in the speech that they did.

After the president’s address, acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolfe released a statement which outlined the European travel restrictions, saying that it applied to any foreign national who had been in the “Schengen Area” — which includes France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and others — over the last two weeks. The statement added that the restrictions did not apply to “legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”

The president also addressed concerns over the virus’s impact, emphasizing that while the danger for most Americans remained low, “the elderly population must be very, very careful.” He advised nursing homes to end all non-essential visits.

Trump downplayed the threat of a recession, saying “this is not a financial crisis.” On Wednesday, the stock market entered a bear market after the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed nearly 6 percent lower than Tuesday, and 20 percent lower than the record high set last month.

“This is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome as a nation and as a world,” Trump declared, saying he would take executive action to provide sick workers with economic relief. He asked Congress for $50 billion for small business loans and “immediate” payroll tax cuts.

He ended with a plea for unity. “We are all in this together. We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship and unify together as one nation and one family,” Trump closed.

 

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