President Donald Trump has announced he is suspending all travel from Europe, excluding the UK, to the US for the next 30 days to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus that has claimed 37 lives and infected 1,300 in the country. In a televised address to the nation from his Oval Office in the White House, Trump said the new rule will be coming into effect from Friday midnight.
There will be exemptions for Americans returning to the US after undergoing multiple screenings, he said. The president said the European Union has "failed to take the same precautions" as his administration had implemented to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
Trump said he is monitoring the situation in China and South Korea and asked citizens to suspend all essential travels. He urged them to adopt best hygiene, wash their hands and stay away from large gatherings to reduce the chance of spread of the deadly virus.
"This is not a financial crisis. This is just a temporary moment in time that we will overcome as a nation and a world," Trump said, adding that "we are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people". No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the US, he said.
"We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world, the president said. Trump said he has taken these decisions after consulting with top government health professionals, to protect all US citizens against the coronavirus.
The deadly virus that first originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year has claimed over 4,200 lives and infected more than 117,330 people across 107 countries and territories. China remains the hardest-hit with more than 80,000 infections and 3,000 deaths.