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Thursday, 12 March, 2020, 10 : 00 AM [IST]

US to suspend travel from Schengen for 30 days beginning Friday

USA President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday night that he was taking action to stem the spread of the coronavirus by suspending most travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, beginning on Friday. The restrictions do not apply to Britain, he said, reports New York Times.

Trump imposed a 30-day ban on foreigners who have been in the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area in the previous two weeks. The limits take effect Friday at midnight and will exempt American citizens and permanent legal residents and their families, although they could be funneled to certain airports for enhanced screening.

Later on Wednesday night, the State Department issued an advisory telling Americans to “reconsider travel” to all countries because of the global effects of the coronavirus. It is the department’s second-strongest advisory, behind “do not travel.”

Speaking from the Oval Office, Trump also said health insurance companies had agreed to extend insurance coverage to cover coronavirus treatments as well as waive related co-payments.

The President added that he planned to soon announce emergency action to provide financial relief for workers who fall ill or need to be quarantined. He said he would ask Congress to take legislative action to extend that relief but did not detail what that would be. He said he would instruct the Treasury Department to “defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted.”

The President, finally appeared to be acknowledging the severity of the virus, calling it a “horrible infection” and acknowledging that Americans should cut back on travel that was not necessary.

It signaled a break from the business-as-usual attitude he had been trying to project as recently as Tuesday, when he urged Americans to “stay calm” and said the virus would soon go away. But Trump continued to anticipate a fast end date to the spread of the coronavirus, even as medical experts have warned that the pandemic will worsen.
 
“This is not a financial crisis,” he said. “This is just a temporary moment in time that we will overcome as a nation and a world.” (Source: New York Times)



 
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