KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — The United States (US) will ban all travel from Europe for 30 days in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump announced.
However, the American president said the new travel restrictions, mainly affecting flights, will not apply to the United Kingdom or US citizens who have undergone adequate testing.
Trump said the prohibitions will also apply to trade and cargo, on the back of criticism that the move was a slow response to the spread of Covid-19, which has seen over 4,500 deaths worldwide.
“The new rules will go into effect on Friday at midnight,” AFP quoted Trump as saying in a live address.
At least 126,264 cases of coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with the majority of cases in China, the centre of the outbreak. Almost 70,000 people have recovered, however.
In America, over 1,200 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported.
Trump initially claimed that only a handful of Americans were at risk. Today he claimed that Europe saw more cases because governments failed to stop travel from China, where the Covid-19 pandemic began.
“I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health and safety of the American people,” Trump said from the Oval Office in the White House, CNN reported. “I will always put the well-being of America first.
“If we are vigilant and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will, we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus. The virus will not have a chance against us.”
Trump’s remarks came on the same day the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic, something the public health agency has not done for 11 years.