President Donald Trump announced Wednesday his decision to suspend all travel from the European Union for the next 30 days to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
“To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” Trump said, announcing that the ban would take effect Friday at midnight.
The president spoke to the American people in an address from the Oval Office on Wednesday night, detailing the threat posed by the virus and announcing the actions that his administration was prepared to take.
Trump noted that the European Union failed to ban travel into their country from areas affected by the coronavirus, such as China and Iran, which resulted in widespread outbreaks in Europe.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots,” he said. “As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.”
He said there would be exemptions to the ban for Americans traveling from Europe who had been screened, as well as individuals from the United Kingdom.
Trump said that the new ban was a “strong but necessary” action to prevent the virus from spreading further into the United States and would begin on Friday.
The president also urged Americans to do their part to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Each of us has a role to play,” Trump said, urging Americans to practice “good hygiene.”
“Wash your hands, clean often-used surfaces, cover your face and mouth if you sneeze or cough, and most of all if you are sick or not feeling well, stay home,” he said.
The president also warned the elderly in America to take additional measures to remain safe.
“The elderly population must be very, very careful,” he said, advising nursing homes to suspend unnecessary visits and to avoid travel in crowded areas.
The president said he would also declare emergency action to help people affected by the economic and health consequences of the virus.
“This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome,” he said.
Trump ordered the Small Business Administration to provide economic loans to areas disrupted by the virus and asked for Congress to pass payroll tax relief for American citizens, despite bipartisan opposition to the idea on Capitol Hill.
He also promised to enact emergency measures to assist American workers affected by the crisis.
“This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus,” he said.
Trump praised the strength of the American economy and the skill of American medical professionals to fight the virus.
“The virus will not have a chance against us,” he said. “No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States.”
The president asked Americans to listen to local guidelines issued by officials regarding school closures, reducing social interactions, and reducing large gatherings of people.
“Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow,” Trump said. “Every community faces different risks and it is critical for you to follow the guidelines of your local officials who are working closely with our federal health experts and they are the best.”