In an Oval Office address television address to the nation, President Donald Trump announced that in light of the rapid spread of Coronavirus, all travel from Europe to the United States will be restricted from Friday 13 March 2020 at midnight, and will last for 30 days.
He also said that “these restrictions will be adjusted subjected to conditions on the ground”, and noted that Americans (and related parties detailed below) will be exempt from the temporary ban under the condition that they go through the “appropriate screening”.
Goods coming into the United States are also subject to the ban, saying “anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.”
He said that “the vast majority of Americans, the risk is very, very low” but advised that older Americans avoid all travel if possible. you can watch the full broadcast below.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued the following statement after the president’s speech saying:
“Today President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Proclamation, which suspends the entry of most foreign nationals who have been in certain European countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”
The United States previously restricted non-US nationals from entering the country if they previously visited China and Iran within 14 days of departure.
The full proclamation can be read on The White House website here.
As it stands, there have been 1,313 cases reported across the United States, with 38 of those succumbing to the disease.
Other countries have also implemented various bans. Kuwait for instance will ban all air traffic into and out of Kuwait International Airport (KWI) from March 13 as well until further notice with the exception for Kuwaiti citizens trying to return home. Italy which has been hard hit by the virus, ranking second in the world with 12,462 infections and 827 deaths has also implemented a nationwide travel ban (with exception for essential travels), along with a ban on public gatherings.
Earlier today, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus a pandemic, with over 126,000 cases being recorded across 110 countries.