President Trump to Ban Travel From Europe to U.S. Due to Coronavirus (Video)
The travel ban will last 30 days and will not include the U.K., Trump announced.
President Donald Trump addressed the U.S. from the Oval Office on Wednesday night to explain how his administration plans to combat the spread of coronavirus, on the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic.
"At the very start of the outbreak we instituted sweeping travel restrictions on China and put in place the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years," Trump said, calling America's actions "strong but necessary."
"To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days," he continued. "The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight."
"The proclamation 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 U.S. Department of Homeland Security clarified in a statement.
A day after the announcement was made, restrictions were also extended to the U.K. and Ireland.
As for U.S. travelers with trips to Europe planned, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 3 "avoid nonessential travel" warning against visiting the following countries: 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, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.
Also on Wednesday, the State Department issued a global level 3 travel warning that advises reconsidering all travel abroad: "The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice."
The majority of cases in Europe have been found in Italy, at more than 12,000, where Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered almost all businesses to shut down on Wednesday amid a nation-wide quarantine. France, Spain, and Germany each have more than 1,900 cases, according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
In the U.S., more than 1,300 people have tested positive for coronavirus so far, and at least 126,000 cases have been diagnosed around the world — almost 81,000 of them in China.
This story will be updated as it develops.