trump coronavirus - address
President Trump addressed the nation about the steps his administration will take to combat the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times

The Trump administration will suspend travel between European countries and the United States for 30 days as the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic continues to grow.

The measure will go into effect at midnight Friday, Trump said during a nationally televised message from the White House on Wednesday. He said the “strong but necessary” restrictions would not apply to the United Kingdom.

“These restrictions will are be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground,” he said. “These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.”

As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, the U.S. and many other nations have enacted tough measures to contain the illness, including barring foreign visitors from countries ravaged by the outbreak.

“I’m confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we’ll ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus,” Trump said.

The Trump administration so far has barred travelers from mainland China, where the virus originated last December, and Iran, which also has seen a spike in infections, from entering the United States.

The restrictions covered any foreign nationals who visited those countries within the past 14 days.

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

American travelers returning from China and Iran have been screened for symptoms in one of 11 airports.

The virus has killed over 4,200 people and sickened nearly 120,000 others globally. Some 1,200 cases have been reported in the U.S

In addition to travel restrictions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to multiple countries, including Italy, which largely has been in a lockdown state amid a surge in coronavirus infections.

Other nations included South Korea, China and Iran. The agency also has warned Americans to take extra precautions when traveling to Japan.

Earlier this month, Trump hinted at expanding travel restrictions to “certain countries where they’re having more of a breakout” as the outbreak continued to worsen. He did not specify which countries could be added to the list.

On Wednesday, Trump also said he would direct agencies to provide unspecified financial relief for “for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus,” and asked Congress to take action to extend it. He also said he would defer tax payment for some individual and business filers for three months to lessen the financial impacts of the outbreak.

He said “we are marshaling the full power” of the government and private sector to protect the American people.

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