Donald Trump bans travel to US from Europe; Full list of countries banned by America
US President Donald Trump has taken the unprecedented action of banning travel to America from Europe in a day of fast-moving global action against the coronavirus surge that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a pandemic
US President Donald Trump has taken the unprecedented action of banning travel to America from Europe in a day of fast-moving global action against the coronavirus surge that the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a pandemic. In a sombre address from the Oval Office on Wednesday night to the nation gripped by the coronavirus fear, Trump said the travel ban would take effect on Friday midnight and remain in force for 30 days.
But he explicitly exempted close ally Britain from the ban, while blaming the European Union (EU) for spreading the disease to the US through inaction.
Full list of European countries whose citizens have been banned from travelling to the US by the Homeland Security Department:
The order did not apply to American citizens, legal permanent residents of the United States, immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.
Trump said the restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground.
US citizens and permanent residents will, however, be allowed in after proper screening through select airports.
A White House statement issued after the speech outlining the the restrictions said the ban would apply to the 26 countries covered by the Schengen agreement that allows free travel among them.
Foreigners who had been to those countries in the past 14 days would not be allowed into the US, the statement said.
This left open the possibility that people who had been in other European countries like Ireland or Russia that are outside the Schengen zone would still be able to enter the US while those who had been to non-EU countries like Switzerland would not.
The US ban on most members of the EU restricts between the world`s two largest economies straining the world economy.
Trump called his administration`s actions against the coronavirus "the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history".
"I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens, and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus."
Trump spoke at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is roiling global financial markets and disrupting the lives of Americans and after days of mixed messages from him.
White House aides have been struggling to get a grip on the messaging and seeing what decisions the President can take unilaterally and what would need Congress green-lighting
As the world rallied to confront the outbreak on Wednesday after the WHO declared it as a pandemic, which means everyone is at risk, India took the momentous step of suspending all visas but the official ones for visiting the country.
Meanwhile, Italy put the entire country under a lockdown and ordered many business to shut down.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that as many as 70 per cent of her country`s population could be infected with the deadly virus.
Trump`s action against Europe was spurred by the outbreak in Italy, where 12,000 people have been infected and 929 have died, in the worst casualty numbers after China, where the disease originated.
He said that while the US had banned travel from China, where the coronavirus originated, "the EU 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 US were seeded by travellers from Europe," the President added.
There was some confusion whether the ban would apply to cargo from Europe, which would seriously disrupt trade.
Trump said: "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 is what we are discussing."
But the White House statement said that the Europe ban issued under the Immigration and Naturalisation Act "only applies to the movement of human beings, not goods or cargo".
It left the room open for banning cargo under a different law, although the statement did not mention any.
So far, Africa, most of Asia other than China and Iran, and the Americas, which have not been severely affected by the coronavirus, have not come under the radar.
But the US Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in favour of the Trump administration`s attempt to control the entry of people trying to enter the US as refugees.
Overturning a lower court ruling, the apex court said that the administration can make people seeking asylum in the US remain in Mexico while their requests were considered.
About 1,200 people have contracted the disease in the US and 29 have died from it.
In the US, the virus has upended life as usual. Public events have been cancelled, universities have switched to online classes, public and private schools are ready for major disruptions.
"I`m freaking out," a New York commuter told IANS.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Wednesday that matches would be played without spectators allowed into the stadium.
The Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden, have cancelled meetings and the party decided that their Sunday debate would BE televised without an audience attending it.
New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City that has the largest cluster of cases in the country has been put under an order of containment and Governor Andrew Cuomo has called out the Army National Guard to help the people there.
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New York State and Several localities in California and elsewhere have declared a state of emergency.
"We knew this was coming, back in December. We are still sitting here and discussing testing," a New Jersey resident told IANS after Trump`s address, referring to the US situation where tests are still unavailable to those who want to get tested, in their local neighbourhoods.
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