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 deadly. The temporary restrictions, which go into effect at midnight on Friday, don’t apply to travel from the UK.
“These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground,” Trump said in a televised speech from the Oval Office. “There will be prohibitions for Americans who have gone through appropriate screenings.”
The ban also applies to cargo, Trump said. “Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we’re discussing,” he said. “These restrictions will not apply to the United Kingdom.”
Trump’s address came after the World Health Organization earlier Wednesday officially declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. The WHO was reticent 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.
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 4,300 deaths globally. The US has more than 1,000 confirmed cases.
On Tuesday, President Trump urged Americans to remain calm in the face of fear about the spread of coronavirus in the US. “It will go away, just stay calm,” Trump said of the coronavirus Tuesday. He added, “Be calm. It’s really working out. And a lot of good things are going to happen.”
Earlier Wednesday, Trump tweeted that he’s “fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government to deal with our current challenge of the CoronaVirus!” the president earlier on Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, the White House gathered representatives from major tech companies for a teleconference Wednesday on coordinating their response to the coronavirus outbreak. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter participated.
Tech companies have already been reacting to the outbreak by canceling conferences, taking steps to combat misinformation on their platforms and instructing employees to work from home.
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