Trump suspends travel from Europe to US amid coronavirus breakout, drawing EU criticism

id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body”> President Donald Trump announces restrictions on travel from continental Europe. Doug Mills — pool photo/Getty Images For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website. President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced new travel restrictions that prohibit travel from Europe to the US in an effort designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The temporary restrictions, which go into effect at midnight on Friday, don’t apply to travel from the UK or Ireland.

They earned criticism from the European Union’s governing body. “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 in a rare televised address from the Oval Office. “There will be exemptions for Americans who have gone through appropriate screenings. These restrictions will not apply to the United Kingdom.” pic.twitter.com/YioC9eARdP — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2020 Although he suggested during the address that the ban would apply to cargo, he backtracked on that in a tweet after the address.

Trump also suggested that nursing homes stop all nonessential visits and announced federally backed small-business loans, indicating that he will direct the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans to affected businesses. Trump’s address came after the World Health Organization earlier Wednesday officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The WHO had been reluctant to call the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, in an attempt to prevent panic, and suggested containment measures were helping control the spread, but experts suggested the conditions were met in late February as case numbers in Italy, South Korea and Iran began to rapidly climb.

Now playing: Watch this: Pandemic: Here’s what’s changed about the coronavirus 5:54 CNET Coronavirus Update Get all the latest on the coronavirus that’s now been declared a pandemic. The acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad F. Wolf,  said in a statement that Trump’s new travel restrictions “will will be disruptive to some travelers,” they are necessary to protect Americans “from further exposure to the potentially deadly coronavirus.” The new strain of coronavirus, which can develop into a respiratory illness known as COVID-19, has infected more than 120,000 people and caused more than 4,700 deaths globally.

The US has more than 1,300 confirmed cases. Trump accused the EU of not taking appropriate actions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from China. “The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots,” Trump said in his address Wednesday. “As a result a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travel.” Coronavirus updates Coronavirus: News, advice and more about COVID-19 Coronavirus may permanently change how we buy our food Homemade face masks: What to know about CDC guidelines Fighting coronavirus: Vaccines, chloroquine and other drugs The ban only applies to the 26 countries within the EU’s Shengen free-travel zone.

Trump didn’t explain why his administration chose to exempt the UK, which has reported six coronavirus deaths and 373 cases, including the health minister, or Ireland, which has reported 43 cases.

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