WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump says he is suspending all travel between the U.S. and Europe for 30 days beginning Friday as he seeks to combat a viral pandemic.
Trump made the announcement Wednesday in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the novel coronavirus and saying U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travelers.
Trump says the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom and the U.S. will monitor the situation to determine if travel can be reopened earlier.
Trump says “we are marshalling the full power” of the government and private sector to protect the American people.
Trump said the ban will not apply to travel to and from the United Kingdom. It is unknown why the UK was singled out, as there have been 458 cases confirmed there.
The order says that Americans can return from Europe. The Trump administration clarified after his speech that the ban applies to foreign nationals who have been to Europe in the last two weeks.
The restrictions apply to 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, and Switzerland.
Trump placed blame on the European Union.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe,” Trump said. “After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and wellbeing of all Americans.”
Although Trump said during his speech that cargo would be impacted, the executive order contradicted this, saying commercial activity would continue.
Trump added that as cases drop in China, his administration will reconsider its Level 4 travel restriction between the United States and China.