Trump suspends travel from Europe to US

12 March 2020 07:27 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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US President Donald Trump has announced sweeping new travel restrictions on Europe in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

In a televised address on Wednesday, he said all travel from Europe would be suspended for the next 30 days.

But 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.

"To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States," Mr Trump said.

"The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight," he added.

Mr Trump also announced plans to provide billions of dollars in loans to small businesses, in an attempt to stymie the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on the US economy.

He also urged Congress to pass major tax relief measures as part of an "aggressive and comprehensive effort" to combat the virus.

"We are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people," he said.

Officials said the risk of infection was low for the general US public, but concern deepened after a number of new cases were confirmed earlier this month.

Containment efforts have begun in earnest. 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.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress that "it's going to get worse", and that depended on the ability to contain those infected.

High medical costs make the virus particularly problematic - many Americans avoid doctor's visits because of unaffordable charges. A lack of paid sick leave is another concern, as are fears about the number of available tests.

But Vice-President Mike Pence, who is in charge of the task force co-ordinating the response to the crisis, has said that "any American can be tested, no restrictions, subject to doctor's orders", and that insurers had promised to offset the charges. (BBC)

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