WASHINGTON – The US will restrict all travel from Europe with the exception of the UK starting later this week in an effort to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, Anadolu Agency reported President Donald Trump (picture) as saying on Wednesday evening.
Addressing the nation from the Oval Office, Trump said the restrictions, which will go into effect on Friday at midnight, “will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground,” and exemptions would be made for US nationals “who have undergone appropriate screenings.”
“We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe. We will not delay,” he said.
The countries that will be affected are Schengen Area nations including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
Legal permanent residents and family members of US nationals are not affected by the new restrictions, the department said in a statement.
The restrictions are similar to those Trump issued on China and Iran in January and February respectively.
The announcement comes on the same day the World Health Organisation officially termed the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic and as the US capital declared a state of emergency.
Shortly after Trump concluded his remarks, the White House announced that the president is cancelling events he had scheduled in Colorado and Nevada “out of an abundance of caution from the Coronavirus outbreak.”