UPDATE: The travel ban has now been extended to include Britain and Ireland, as it seeks to contain the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe. It has been confirmed that this will go into effect at midnight eastern standard time on Monday, March 16. US Citizens and legal residents can return to America per Reuters.
President Donald Trump, 73, shocked the world in a live national address on Mar. 11 when he announced that he’s banning all travel from Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom, to the United States starting at midnight on Mar. 14 to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. “We are responding with great speed and professionalism,” he advised viewers during his speech about the careful decision. “There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings. And 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.”
The announcement came after the U.S. cases of COVID-19 capped at more than 1,000, including around 30 deaths, and and 120,000 cases worldwide, according to the Washington Post. Trump said that there are significant clusters of the virus in the states of California, New York, Florida, and Washington state and that they were “seeded” by travel from Europe. The World Health Organization also declared coronavirus a pandemic on the same day Trump made the travel ban announcement. “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity — and by the alarming levels of inaction,” WHO director, General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
In addition to a travel ban, Trump announced some economic relief plans he’s putting into place because of the virus, such as directing the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans to small businesses that are negatively impacted. He is also going to Congress to provide “immediate payroll tax relief” and having the Treasury Department defer tax payments without adding interest or penalties for certain people and businesses affected.
BREAKING: Pres. Trump announces suspension of "all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight.
— ABC News (@ABC) March 12, 2020
Coronavirus cases first started coming up in China in late Dec. and have since had large outbreaks in Italy, France, Germany, and Spain. It has caused numerous events with large gatherings to be cancelled or postponed as a precaution, including many popular U.S. events like the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX, the Coachella music festival in Indio, CA, and the Electronic Entertainment Expo aka E3 in Los Angeles, CA. The NBA also announced it was cancelling the rest of the basketball season on Mar. 11 after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert, 27, tested positive for the virus.
Actor Tom Hanks, 63, and his wife Rita Wilson, 63, also announced that they tested positive for coronavirus after they were down in Australia for the pre-production of Baz Luhrmann‘s untitled film about Elvis Presley. Tom is set to play the role of Elvis’ longtime manager Colonel Tom Parker in the upcoming film.