President Donald Trump announces suspension of flights from Europe

The president announced on Wednesday night that the US will suspend all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.

Trump suspends travel from Europe to the US
The US will suspend all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday night.
“The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight,” he said during a live speech from the Oval Office. “These restrictions are subject to conditions on the ground,” he added. “There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings.”
The new restrictions would not apply to the United Kingdom, Trump said.
“At the same time, we are monitoring the situation in China and in South Korea, and as their situation improves, we will reevaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening,” he said.
After the announcement, European Council official Charles Michel tweeted: “Following the travel ban @realDonaldTrump announced, we will assess the situation today. Economic disruption must be avoided. #Europe is taking all necessary measures to contain the spread of the #COVID19 virus, limit the number of affected people and support research.”

In response to Trump’s announcement, Michel and fellow European Council official Ursula von der Leyen issued a joint statement: “The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent, and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action. The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to [impose] a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation. The European Union is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.”
Trump addressed the nation amid sharp declines on Wall Street and reassured Americans that the US economy is strong enough to get through the crisis.
“We have the greatest economy anywhere in the world by far,” he said. “Financial institutions are fully capitalized and incredibly strong. Our unemployment is at a historic low. This vast economic prosperity gives us the flexibility to face any threat that comes our way.”
“This is not a financial crisis,” Trump said. “This is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.”
“Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow,” he said. “Every community faces different risks, and it is critical for you to follow the guidelines of your local officials, who are working closely with our federal health experts, and they are the best for all Americans.”
Trump called on Americans to take extra precautions “and practice good hygiene.”
“Each of us has a role to play in defending [against] this virus,” he said. “Wash your hands. Clean often-used surfaces. Cover your face and mouth if you sneeze or cough. And most of all, if you are sick or not feeling well, stay home.”
“To ensure that working Americans impacted by the virus can stay at home without fear of financial hardship, I will soon be taking emergency action, which is unprecedented to provide financial relief,” Trump said. “This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to the virus.”
The travel restrictions announced Wednesday ban most foreign nationals who have traveled to Schengen Area countries in Europe during the previous 14 days from entering the US, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.
The restrictions are meant to combat the spread of the coronavirus and do not apply to legal permanent residents of the US, nor do they generally apply to immediate family members of American citizens, it said.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in the statement he planned to issue a notice within the next 48 hours that would require US passengers who have been in Schengen Area countries to travel through selected airports with enhanced screening.
The United States did not coordinate the 30-day ban on European travel with European officials before Trump announced it late on Wednesday, a European diplomat said.
In Trump’s televised address, he said the government had been in frequent contact with US allies. But EU officials were not notified about the decision ahead of time, according to the diplomat, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
“There was no heads-up, no coordination as the president claimed,” the diplomat said.
Reuters contributed to this report.