United States President, Donald Trump has banned citizens of many European countries from entering the US for 30 days, as he unveiled an unprecedented travel ban aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in America.
In a primetime address, Trump said he had ordered the drastic measure because of the large number of Coronavirus cases in Europe. The ban, which mirrors restrictions on travel from China and Iran, will take effect at midnight on Friday. It will not affect Ireland, the UK or other countries outside the 26-nation Schengen common visa area.
“We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus. We made a life-saving move with early action on China, now we must take the same action with Europe,”Trump said.
He added that the EU had failed to take the same precautions that the US had taken when it banned travel from China.
“As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe,” he stated.
While the move was praised by many loyal Republicans, it was slammed by Democrats who the president had created more panic instead of offering reassurance.
A Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, Brendan Boyle, said the Oval Office speech was the “single worst presidential address” he had heard in his lifetime.
“The American people need to be reassured that there is a smart plan already developed and being executed from the top. I have no confidence this is what is presently happening,” Boyle said.
Asian markets fell sharply and stock futures indicated that US markets would open 4 percent lower on Thursday.
One European official said the White House had not provided advance notice, despite repeated requests ahead of the speech.
The travel restrictions will hit European and US airlines that carry passengers across the Atlantic. The state department on Wednesday also urged Americans to reconsider travelling overseas, as it raised its travel health advisory alert to “Level 3” — one level below the most serious alert, which tells Americans not to travel abroad.
In his speech, Trump suggested that the ban would hit cargo but the White House later said the policy “only applies to the movement of human beings, not goods or cargo.”
Meanwhile, the National Basketball Association(NBA) has announced that that the season has been suspended until further notice. The decision came after one player of Utah Jazz tested positive to the virus.