The US President announced the ban, that is effective at midnight Friday, during a televised address to the nation from the White House on Wednesday. He said the “strong but necessary” restrictions would not apply to the UK, where 460 cases of the virus have now been confirmed. There are 1,135 confirmed cases of the virus across the US, with 38 deaths.
Mr Trump said: “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.
“The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight.”
The US President accused European leaders of failing to take the same precautions to restrict travel from China and other hotspots as his administration had done.
Addressing domestic concerns about the lack of testing equipment for the virus, Mr Trump said that testing capabilities were expanding rapidly.
In attempts to reassure the US public further, he insisted that the risk from coronavirus was “very, very low’ for the majority of people.
However, he conceded that elderly Americans were most at risk, and cautioned them to avoid all non-essential travel and crowded areas. He added that he was suspending visits to care homes as an extra precaution.
The President promised emergency action to help workers who are ill or quarantined for coronavirus.
In addition, he said that small businesses would be offered low-interest loans and tax payments would be deferred for both businesses and individuals affected.
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The President insisted that this was not a financial crisis, saying “this is just a temporary moment of time we will overcome as a nation and the world.”
In a serious but defiant conclusion, Mr Trump emphasised that the country was “at a critical time in the fight against the virus” and called for politics and partisanship to be put aside.
He vowed: “The virus will not have a chance against us.
“No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States.”
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Investors appeared unmoved by the President’s address, as US stock futures extend losses, down more than two percent immediately after his televised appearance.
This comes as containment efforts were intensified across the country.
Troops have been deployed to New Rochelle, just north of New York City, where one outbreak is believed to have originated.
The National Guard will deliver food to some individuals who have been told to self-isolate there.
The governor of Washington state has banned large gatherings in several counties.
The north-western state is the focal point of the outbreak in the US, accounting for 24 of at least 38 deaths across the country.
The NBA announced on Wednesday that it was suspending its season as a result of the pandemic.
The announcement came after a Utah Jazz player was found to have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The league said the suspension would take effect after the completion of Wednesday’s schedule.
It has also been confirmed in the last couple of hours that the 66-year-old actor Tom Hanks has been diagnosed with the virus and is in self-isolation with his wife, Rita
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