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 and there will be exemptions for Americans returning to the US after undergoing multiple screenings. Equities and oil prices fell through the floor again on Thursday after Donald Trump banned all travel from Europe to the US for a month to fight the coronavirus, ramping up fears the global economy will careen into recession.
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 infection.
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, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) describing the outbreak a pandemic.
In another move Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency Wednesday as the number of identified coronavirus cases in the nation’s capital reached 10 and officials recommended gatherings of 1,000 or more people be postponed or cancelled.
UN Chief makes an Appeal
UN chief Antonio Guterres urged world governments to urgently scale up their response to the novel coronavirus if they are to stand a chance of stemming its spread. “Today’s declaration of a pandemic is a call to action – for everyone, everywhere,” the secretary general said in a statement.
“We can still change the course of this pandemic — but that means addressing inaction,” he said. “I call on every government to step up and scale up their efforts — now.” “The best science tells us, if countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, we can go a long way to mitigating transmission,” Guterres said.