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Coronavirus: Trump restricts travel between U.S. and Europe, NBA suspends season

Christian Fernsby |
President Donald Trump announced yesterday he is sharply restricting passenger travel from 26 European nations to the U.S. and moving to ease the economic cost of coronavirus.

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Topics: CORONAVIRUS    TRUMP   

Trump, in a rare Oval Office address to the nation, said the month long restriction on travel would begin late Friday, at midnight. After days of playing down the coronavirus threat, he blamed Europe for not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and claimed that U.S. clusters were “seeded” from European travelers.

“We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” Trump said. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”

Trump said the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom, and there would be exemptions for “Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings.” He said the U.S. would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.

The State Department followed Trump’s remarks by issuing an extraordinary global health advisory cautioning U.S. citizens to “reconsider travel abroad” due to the virus and associated quarantines and restrictions.

While Trump said all European travel would be cut off, Homeland Security officials later clarified that the new travel restrictions would apply only to most foreign nationals who have been in the “Schengen Area” at any point for 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States.

The restrictions don’t apply to legal permanent residents, family of U.S. citizens or others “identified in the proclamation” signed by Trump.

And Trump misspoke when he said the prohibitions would “not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things.” The official proclamation released after Trump spoke made clear it applies to people, not goods and cargo.

The National Basketball Association suspended its season, and actor Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for coronavirus. The first confirmed case on Capitol Hill was reported in a legislative staffer.

After Trump spoke, the White House cancelled a planned trip by the president to Nevada and Colorado this week, “out of an abundance of caution.” Trump’s reelection campaign also postponed a planned March 19 event in Milwaukee that was set to feature the president.


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