President Trump raised fresh questions surrounding his response to the coronavirus on Thursday by saying that Americans in Europe will be tested for coronavirus before they are allowed to board flights and that they will not be allowed to come home if they test positive.
The shocking announcement came after his decision to halt all travel from Europe to the US for 30 days starting from Friday at midnight.
During a press conference with the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office, Trump said: ‘We are not putting them on planes if they test positive. It is going to be a pretty strong enforcement of quarantine,’ he said, without explaining which tests would be used or where the diagnosed cases would then be treated overseas.
It was a direct contradiction to what Pence said on Thursday morning – that ‘everyone’ can ‘come home regardless of their symptoms or what their condition is’ and that they would be asked to go under ‘voluntary’ quarantine after landing back in the US at one of 13 airports designed to handle the outbreak.
Foreign nationals or visa holders without permanent residency will not be allowed back in the US from Friday at midnight, aside from people in the UK and Ireland which have been exempt from the ban.
Trump has not yet explained why they are exempt.
White House coronavirus expert Dr. Anthony Fauci suggested on Thursday that it was because 70 percent of the cases seen in the US could be traced back to continental Europe and not the isles of the UK and Ireland, a fact that is yet to be proven. Many of the known cases in the US have had no travel nexus to any of the known coronvirus hot-spots in Europe – a fact that is worrying local and state officials as efforts to contain the spread in the US ramp up.
Pence offered no context or information about the ‘funnel’ airports on Thursday as he revealed that that was where returning US citizens would be sent but they are thought to be the 11 bases that were set up to cope with returning passengers from China in February plus two more.
There has also been no answer to questions over the type of planes the returning passengers will travel on; when the US brought citizens home from Wuhan in February at the onset of the outbreak, they were put on charter flights but there are no doubt countless more US citizens currently in the whole of continental Europe than there were in Wuhan when the virus erupted and airlines are pulling their flights to the US by the second as a result of the looming ban.
President Trump said on Thursday that Americans in Europe would be tested for coronavirus before they get on flights home and that they would not be allowed back into the US if they test positive
THE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS ON BRINGING AMERICANS HOME
Mike Pence, 7.20am
‘Every American that is returning from Europe will be screened as they return through 13 separate airports and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
‘It’s a part of the president’s strategy…and I’ve had kids that have studied abroad as well.
‘Every one of those families should know that their children can come home.
‘They will be — they will be funneled, as we say, through a series of 13 different airports.
‘And then we’ll ask them to self-quarantine regardless of their symptoms or what their condition is’
‘We are not putting them on planes if they test positive.
‘It is going to be a pretty strong enforcement of quarantine.’
The 13 airports were set up to be able to house hundreds, if not thousands, in quarantine conditions after the outbreak in China. They are in Honolulu, Chicago, Dallas, L.A.X, San Francisco, Atlanta, JFK, Seattle, Washington DC, Newark and Detroit. The two new ones have not been announced.
Pence repeated previous claims that the government had asked private labs including Lab Corp and Quest Diagnostics to speed up the production of their tests, after a wave of criticism over how long the CDC was taking to get theirs off the ground.
But he failed to address some key specifics including how or if the ban will impact trade and imports from Europe, or how many people will likely become infected in America despite the drastic new measures.
World health officials have already undermined Trump’s plan.
They say it will not stop the virus from spreading and that the administration should be focusing its efforts on the healthcare system, which will likely buckle under the strain of the pandemic if it reaches the proportions seen in China and Italy.
There are 1,327 people in America with the virus and 38 people have died because of it.
Pence’s revelation that Americans coming back from Europe would be funneled through one of 13 airports came during his appearance on Fox and Friends.
He had already appeared on Good Morning America, Today and CNN by the time he spoke, but had failed to answer many of the resounding questions which surround yesterday’s announcement.
‘Every American that is returning from Europe will be screened as they return through 13 separate airports and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. It’s a part of the president’s strategy,’ he said.
Asked specifically about families with kids overseas, he went on: ‘I’ve had kids that have studied abroad as well.
In February, the military set up quarantine camps at 11 airbases next to airports around the country in anticipation of people coming back from China. Those are believed to be among the ones Pence was referring to where US passengers will be ‘screened’ and ‘funneled’ back into the country after returning from Europe
The number of coronavirus cases in the US have soared in the last 10 days and are continuing to rise
Graphs chart the spread of the virus in the US, Europe and the world since November last year when the first cases were reported in China
In an earlier appearance on Good Morning America, he said there had been some ‘irresponsible rhetoric’ around the topic but insisted Trump was taking it seriously.
‘The American people should know that President Trump has no higher priority than the health and safety and well being of the people of this country,’ he said.
‘We have all have known from the beginning that the coronavirus would continue to spread across this country, it’s one of the reasons president trump took decisive action to put the health of the American people first not only declaring a public health emergency in January but that same month, suspending all travel from China and quarantining everyone returning from the region.
‘Since then, we’ve issued travel advisories to Italy, South Korea… but frankly as we watched the epicenter of the coronavirus shift from China and South Korea to Europe, the president thought it was proper for us to impose a 30 day suspension on all travel from continental Europe,’ he said.
Trump’s plan also includes;
- Tax deferments without interest or penalties for businesses and individuals affected by the coronavirus;
- A demand for $50billion in low-interest loans to small businesses to help them overcome the crisis;
- A call for Congress to enact ‘immediate payroll tax relief’;
- Financial ‘relief’ for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others.
Many have asked what stopping travel from Europe will do to help the problem because the virus is already on US soil and spreading fast.
WHO Dr. Margaret Harris has already said the plan will not work.
‘We are not keen on travel bans generally because it makes the country concerned focus on managing their borders rather than focusing on what we’d like to see.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday morning that Americans returning to the US from Europe would be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days but that they would be allowed to come home ‘regardless of their condition’
‘[We need to] focus on the spread within the community and stopping the spread within the community and really supporting the health system to be able to look after the people that are and do get severely ill,’ she said during an appearance on Good Morning Britain on Thursday.
The move also drew immediate criticism from senior Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer who urged Trump to back their move to offer free testing kits, and to focus on fighting the spread of the virus within the US.
‘We have a public health crisis in this country and the best way to help keep the American people stay safe and ensure their economic security is for the president to focus on fighting the spread of the coronavirus itself,’ they said in a joint statement.
The Association of Flight Attendants was also quick to criticize Trump, branding his travel ban ‘irresponsible’ and saying it is ‘about politics, not public safety’.
‘There is no explanation for how this will help fight the spread of the virus,’ a statement said. ‘It makes little sense when the virus is already in the United States.
What we know and what we DON’T about Donald Trump closing borders to Europeans
President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced a drastic ban on foreigners traveling to the United States from Europe in an effort to curb the deadly coronavirus from spreading, but his vague plan seemed to only heighten fears.
Americans in Europe rushed to airports late on Wednesday and early on Thursday morning in a desperate bid to get home, before confusion over who would be affected by the ban was cleared up.
While U.S. citizens and lawful residents will be allowed to return home, most foreigners from the 26 banned countries will be denied entry beginning on Friday.
Here, DailyMail.com details what we know – and more crucially what we don’t know.
WHO IS COVERED BY THE BAN?
Foreigners who are traveling directly from any of the 26 countries on Trump’s European ban list will not be admitted into the United States.
Foreigner means anyone coming from outside the U.S. and is not a U.S. citizen or doesn’t have a valid green card.
The countries include EU members France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. See right for the full list.
It is unclear if passengers flying from a non-European destination will be asked when they were last in Europe.
Foreigners who are in the U.S. on a work visa or a tourist visa are likely going to barred from entering the U.S. if they visit a European country and try to re-enter the country.
WHO IS NOT COVERED BY THE BAN?
The restrictions don’t apply to U.S. citizens, legal U.S. permanent residents, meaning those with green cards, immediate family members of U.S. citizens or others ‘identified in the proclamation’ that was signed by Trump on Wednesday night.
It also doesn’t apply to foreigners with diplomatic, NATO, military or government visas. And for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have a foreign child or are adopting a foreign child, according to NAFSA.
Americans who are currently in Europe will be allowed back in — though they will be subject to an ‘enhanced’ health screening and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Trump did not mention any restrictions on Americans traveling to Europe and the ban will last for 30 days.
WHAT ABOUT FOREIGNERS COMING FROM OTHER COUNTRIES? WILL THEY BE ASKED IF THEY WENT TO BANNED DESTINATIONS?
It is unclear how airports will be screening for foreigners who have visited an European country and later traveled to another country that isn’t on the ban list.
For example, London’s Heathrow airport is a major travel hub for Europe and is exempt from the ban, meaning Europeans could possibly travel to London to fly out to the U.S.
Heathrow’s most popular destination is JFK in New York City.
Heathrow has a daily average total of 219,458 passengers, with 49.5 percent of those passengers classified as departures.
Around 94 percent of passengers who travel out of Heathrow are coming or going to international destinations.
Several international airlines also have designated layovers in cities worldwide, meaning passengers might be able to travel to Asia or other North American countries and bypass the ban if screening officials aren’t being thorough.
WHAT HAPPENS TO AMERICANS WHEN THEY TRAVEL FROM EUROPE?
Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday that Americans returning from Europe ‘will be screened as they return through 13 separate airports.’
Currently, there are 11 airports that are designated to receive passengers who recently visited China or Iran, which had previous travel restrictions placed on them.
The airports in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas, Hawaii and Detroit could possibly be utilized to accept travelers from the European countries.
It was not mentioned if screening included testing for every passenger.
It is unclear how passengers are expected to self-quarantine when they still need to travel home from the airport, particularly if the airport they are routed through is not close to their final destination.
Trump on Thursday encouraged travelers to self-isolate after returning from Europe.
HOW EXACTLY ARE PEOPLE SCREENED FOR CORONAVIRUS?
In addition to the passenger being asked if they have visited any of the banned European countries, officials look for symptoms of the virus.
The most common symptoms include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and fatigue.
To confirm if a passenger has coronavirus, a sample is collected for a diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2, which is the strain of virus that leads to the respiratory disease.
Medical officials often take a sample by putting a swab up the nose. A swab can also be taken through the mouth if the person has a wet cough.
The samples are sent off to be tested by various health departments and clinical diagnostic laboratories. Results usually come back within 2-7 days.
In Cleveland, a clinic said a new in-house coronavirus test it developed would deliver results within eight hours.
WHO WILL ENFORCE THE BAN?
It is unclear who will be responsible for enforcing the ban.
International airlines could be tasked with denying boarding for European passport holders at the gate or at check-in.
Another option could see European passengers being turned away at the U.S. border if they somehow made it on a U.S-bound flight.
Additionally, it is unclear if the government will use federal resources to send additional officials to check passports and enforce the ban at airports.
CAN AIRPORTS EVEN TEST FOR CORONAVIRUS?
One of the main concerns over the spread of the virus has been over a shortage of testing kits available, as Vice President Mike Pence said passengers will be tested at one of the 13 airports upon arrival.
Airports and local clinics have repeatedly said they did not have supplies to test people who are concerned they have the virus.
It has been reported that fewer than 10,000 people have been tested in the U.S. compared to 20,000 per day in South Korea.
The CDC revealed on Tuesday that only 8,554 Americans had been tested for coronavirus, with the agency’s director saying state and local health labs are understaffed and ill-equipped to keep up with the crisis.
Health officials and Democrats have slammed the limited supply of tests, while some government officials claimed there was a surplus of testing kits, citing figures of 1.1 million tests at labs across the country and a million more on the way.
However during the coronavirus task force briefing, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, confessed that Americans will only be able to find out whether they have contracted COVID-19 if a doctor gives the go-ahead.
Despite a claimed 4 million more tests due to be delivered by the end of the week, Azar said: ‘There’s a false premise. Just because I as a person say I’d like to be tested for coronavirus, I can walk into a Minute Clinic and say ”give me my test please” – that’s not how diagnostic testing works in the United States or frankly anywhere else.’
Why wasn’t the United Kingdom included in the ban?
Despite the UK having 373 cases and Ireland having 43 cases, in addition to the UK imposing far fewer restrictions in response to the virus than many EU countries, Trump’s travel ban excluded the two. Trump has properties in both nations.
Trump said on Thursday: ‘One of the reasons UK basically has been (excluded from the restrictions is) it’s got the border.
‘It’s got very strong borders and they’re doing a very good job.’
The exemption will raise questions about the coherence of his policy.
Trump had accused Europe of not acting quickly enough to address the ‘foreign virus’ and claimed that U.S. clusters were ‘seeded’ by European travelers.
But the UK has no screening of people coming from France – to which it is connected directly by the Channel Tunnel – or other European countries, as Nancy Pelosi quickly pointed out.
On Thursday, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, one of America’s top scientists, explained the ban on European countries.
He said: ‘When we were looking at the pure public health aspect of it we found that 70 percent of the new infections in the world were coming from Europe, that cluster of countries, and of the 35 states – 30 out of 35 of them who were more recently getting infections were getting them from them – that was predominantly from Italy and from France and from Germany.’
How many people does this affect?
Europe is the most popular international destination for Americans and according to flight tracker FlightAware, there are around 400 flights across the Atlantic from Europe to the United States each day, converting to around 72 million passengers a year.
Although Americans aren’t outright barred from traveling to Europe, many have already cancelled bookings to European cities.
The time of year the ban falls under is when several grade schools and universities have spring break.
What do health officials say about the Europe ban?
Some evidence has suggested travel restrictions – such as the ones imposed in China early on in the pandemic – can contain the virus by stopping cases being imported to the rest of the world.
Margaret Harris, of the World Health Organisation, admitted that travel bans are useful in the early stages of an outbreak but said they are of little use when the disease starts spreading freely within communities – as it has done in the U.S.
Professor Paul Hunter, an infectious disease specialist at the University of East Anglia, said: ‘It is uncertain what the US intends to achieve with the recently announced travel ban to the Schengen area of Europe.
Hunter continued: ‘Many of us have been pointing out since the COVID-19 epidemic began that travel bans have a poor record on preventing the spread of epidemic diseases. At best travel bans only delay the spread of an epidemic by a short while.
‘Introducing an international travel ban at a time when the US is now one of the countries with the most rapidly accelerating internal transmission rates will do little if anything to reduce the burden of infection within the US.’
What does this mean for the tourism and airline industry?
The global travel industry is already reeling from declining bookings and canceled reservations as people try to avoid contracting and spreading coronavirus.
With Europe being the most popular travel destination for Americans, the move will hit tourist reliant-heavy countries hard.
Airlines scrambled to adjust to the new restrictions, with many telling customers they were still assessing options and asking for patience from those trying to contact them.
Even before Trump’s announcement, the International Airline Travelers Association was forecasting a 24 percent fall in Europe’s passenger traffic this year and $37 billion in lost potential ticket sales.
Italy, which is all but closed off as authorities try to control the spread of the virus there, has been particularly hard hit.
An industry trade group warned that airlines worldwide could lose up to $113 billion in revenue from the virus — several times the damage caused by the 2001 terror attacks in the U.S. Since mid-February, shares of American Airlines have dropped by nearly half, United Airlines by more than one-third, and Delta Air Lines more than one-fourth.
‘The President expressly stated the United Kingdom is not included in the travel ban and yet the UK health minister herself has the virus.’
But Pence said that stopping the flow of people from Europe, combined with boosting efforts on the ground here to contain the virus, would set the country on the right path.
COUNTRIES WHOSE PEOPLE ARE BANNED
WHO THE BAN APPLIES TO
Most foreign nationals who have been in these countries at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival to the United States*
AND WHO IT DOESN’T
‘Legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.’*
* according to Department of Homeland Security
‘The reality is just two weeks ago in Italy there were less than 500 now there’s 12,000.
‘We have tens of thousands of people who travel to the US from Europe every day.
‘Seventy percent new cases were in Europe. When we looked yesterday, 30 of the 35 states could be traced to contact to Europe.
‘We want to stop the flow of people bringing the coronavirus here but also surge resources in California, Washington and New York where we’ve seen the spread – it’s a combination of efforts.
‘The president showed again yesterday a willingness to take decisive action,’ he said.
In a different interview, on Today, he resisted criticism of how slow the US had been in ramping up its testing and claimed the delay was because standards here for FDA-approved tests are higher than overseas.
‘From early on in this effort we’ve been addressing the testing issue.
‘We made changes through the FDA that allowed for state labs and university hospitals and hospitals to engage in testing and I’m pleased to report every state lab in America can do testing now.
‘Many university laboratories are doing it. Washington State, the University of Washington is doing extraordinary work.
‘But we are literally working hour by hour do expand the testing and we think the key, is going to be what we call commercial laboratories like Lab Corp and Quest, who are already spinning up production at the president’s direction last week on tests that can be available on a broad basis in the days ahead for the American people.
There was a mad dash for tickets back to the US from Europe on Thursday morning. Above, a line at the Delta desk in Charles de Gaulle airport
A line of people at the Air France ticket desk at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on Thursday
Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, France: People wearing protective face masks line up at the Air France ticketing desk inside Terminal 2E at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Roissy on Thursday
‘We’re making real progress, but rest assured we’re going to continue to drive forward. But anyone that feels that they may have contracted the coronavirus should call their doctor.
‘Their doctor can contact the state lab and determine where testing can take place today in all 50 states,’ he said.
Pence finally conceded that the virus was far deadlier than the flu for vulnerable people, which contradicts the president’s old advice for people not to panic because thousands end up in the hospital every year with influenza.
‘According to all of our health experts on the White House coronavirus task force, it does not, as we look at global data, present as much a threat to younger Americans, particularly children under the age of 15.
‘But for senior citizens with serious underlying health conditions, it represents a threat of very serious consequences.
‘It’s one of the reasons why the president took the unprecedented step yesterday of suspending all travel from Europe, just as he has done so in January with China, and we’re going to be screening and asking every American who returns from Europe over the next 30 days to self-quarantine for 14 days.
‘We want to focus on those that are most vulnerable but we also want to work on ensuring that the coronavirus is not further brought into our country from Europe.
Bottom line, it’s going to get worse…If we are complacent and don’t do really aggressive containment and mitigation, the number could go way up and be involved in many, many millions
Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House coronavirus expert
‘And we’re obviously continuing to focus in areas of California, Washington state and New York where we’ve seen what the experts call community spread,’ he said.
Pence resisted giving a specific number when asked how many Americans would become infected.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s expert on coronavirus, has warned that it will infect millions of people.
‘I’ll leave it to the experts to make the estimates of how many people may be infected,’ he said.
In his address on Wednesday night, Trump did not announce any ban on public gatherings, or declare any travel restrictions within the U.S., although he did urge older Americans to avoid crowded places if possible.
He also caused confusion after appearing to announce that trade from Europe was also banned, only to clarify later on Twitter that ‘the restriction stops people not goods’.
Trump urged elderly Americans to take great caution, urged cutting off visitors to nursing homes, and told Americans to wash their hands diligently.
‘The virus will not have a chance against us – no nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States,’ he said.
NBA SUSPENDS ITS SEASON OVER CORONAVIRUS FEARS AS MAJOR WORLD EVENTS ARE CANCELED
The NBA suspended its season indefinitely on Wednesday night in light of the president’s announcement, postponing all games and setting a match to millions of dollars in deals, ad revenue and ticket sales.
The decision – the first of its kind – came after the president’s address amid the revelation that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the virus.
NBA postponed all games ‘until further notice’ and will use hiatus to determine’ next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic’
Mass gatherings have not yet been banned in the US but in Europe, football games have all been scrapped until further notice.
In Italy, group gatherings like weddings and funerals are not allowed and even stores are closing to try to contain the virus.
In its announcement, the NBA said: ‘The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice.
‘The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.’
In addition to Gobert and his Jazz teammates, five other NBA teams are currently being quarantined, sources told ESPN’s Briand Windhorst. Those teams include the
Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and the Toronto Raptors — all of which have played Utah in the last 10 days.
The NBA postponed the season Wednesday night, shortly after the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz game was called off. Pictured, fans leave before tip off at Chesapeake Energy Arena
He explained the new measure as a matter of protecting the nation from the rapidly spreading virus – which he called ‘foreign.’
‘This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,’ he said. ‘I will always put the well-being of America first.
‘We are mobilizing the full power of the federal government and private sector to protect the American people,’ he said.
Hours earlier, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, testified that the coronavirus was ten times more deadly than the flu – a disease Trump has previously tweeted about while urging calm and saying the nation would prevail.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House oversight committee, told a panel of expert witnesses during a hearing on the disease: ‘This morning we were informed that President Trump and Vice President Pence have called our witnesses to an emergency meeting at the White House. We don’t know the details, just that it is extremely urgent.’
She later cited reports that the gather was not an emergency meeting, adding: ‘However that’s not what your staff just told us.’
Fauci issued dire warnings at the House committee hearing.
‘Bottom line, it’s going to get worse,’ Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. He warned millions will be affected.
‘If we are complacent and don’t do really aggressive containment and mitigation, the number could go way up and be involved in many, many millions. If we contain we could flatten it,’ he noted, pushing back when asked to pin down how many might be infected.
He also recommended large sporting events be banned.
He said that the WHO estimated it to be lethal in 3.4% of recorded cases so far, a figure he expects to drop to 1% – ‘which means it’s 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.’
‘We would recommend that there not be large crowds. If that means not having any people in the audience as the N.B.A. plays, so be it,’ he said.
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee prohibited gatherings of over 250 people in counties around Seattle, in just the latest move to restrict interactions to contain ‘community spread.’ Basketball games, classes, and festivals were being cancelled and postponed. The NCAA announced that division one college games would be played in arenas without crowd during the famed ‘March Madness’ tournament.
The NBA’s Golden State Warriors announced the team will play its next home game without fans, in a part of the country where the Diamond Princess was moored offshore after an outbreak.
Additional new government actions were not immediately clear. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was to ‘take all appropriate and necessary steps’ so health care workers could get respirators needed when treating coronavirus patients. Shortages are a concern, as is the manufacture of many face masks for industrial rather than medical use.
The administration continues to assemble possible tax ideas to address the market drop and economic impacts.
House Democrats are readying legislative action on their own ideas.
Trump’s travel ban will do NOTHING to stop coronavirus spreading person-to-person in the US and could make it worse by giving people a false sense of security, top WHO doctor warns
Dr. Margaret Harris, with the World Health Organisation, said that while travel bans are useful in the early stages of an outbreak, they are of little use when the disease starts spreading freely within communities – as it has in the US.
Rather than focus efforts on closing borders, she urged countries including the US to stop the spread within their own borders by rapidly testing people for the virus and ensuring they get appropriate treatment.
Meanwhile the EU Commission said it ‘disapproved’ of Trump’s decision, which was taken without consultation leading to confusion over how it would be implemented.
European leaders stressed that cooperation rather than unilateral action is needed to combat a global pandemic.
The UK, which was given an exemption from the ban alongside Ireland, said that there is little evidence to support the theory that travel bans are effective against pandemics.
EU Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen insisted that the coronavirus pandemic 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 U.S. decision to improve a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,’ they said.
Given Italy’s nationwide travel lockdown and other measures taken by all the bloc’s 27 members, Von der Leyen and Michel dismissed Trump’s suggestion that the EU has not done enough in fighting the disease.
They say the EU ‘is taking strong action to limit the spread of the virus.’
Their sentiment was echoed by Dr Harris, who said the WHO disapproves of travel bans because it causes countries to focus their efforts on the wrong things.
‘[The focus should be on] stopping the spread within the community and really supporting the health system to be able to look after the people that are and do get severely ill,’ she said.
‘Early on… when you’ve got a big outbreak in one place and you’ve got no transfer within your community [a travel ban] can make a difference, but it’s something you need to keep on reassessing.
‘[Now] it gives a false sense of security because you think ‘ah yes, we’re doing something’ but if [the virus] is already in your community your focus needs to be on stopping it there.
‘Just because people are from a particular country doesn’t mean they may have it, your own nationals who have been visiting that country are just as likely to have it.’
Trading is halted for a record SECOND time this week as Dow drops 2,000 points, S&P 500 plunges into bear territory and panic builds over Trump’s coronavirus travel ban on Europe
Wall Street has again triggered a critical circuit breaker that halted all trades, after President Donald Trump imposed a travel ban on most of Europe but offered little in the way of new measures to contain the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Trading halted just five minutes into the session on Thursday, when a 7 percent plunge in the S&P 500 triggered an automatic 15-minute pause on all trades.
All stock trades were halted at 9.35am, and trading resumed at 9.50am. If the S&P 500 extends its losses to 15 percent in the same session, another ‘Level 2’ 15-minute halt will be triggered. At losses of 20 percent, a ‘Level 3’ halt would stop all trades for remainder of the day.
It was the second time the circuit breaker was tripped this week, after a 15-minute pause early in Monday’s session. Before Monday, there was only one other instance when marketwide circuit breakers were triggered: October 27, 1997, which traders recall as ‘Bloody Monday’.
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Trading on Wall Street automatically halted just five minutes into the session on Thursday, after a 7% decline
Since modern circuit-breaker guidelines went into effect in 2013, the market has never triggered the Level 2 and 3 trading halts tied to 13 percent and 20 percent declines.
On Thursday, the Dow sank as much as 2,000 points in early trading, after ending its historic 11-year bull run on Wednesday and plunging into bear market territory, defined as a 20 percent drop from recent highs.
Biggest losers on the Dow on Thursday
The following Dow components saw shares down the most for the day as of 10.55am:
- Dow Inc: -14.6%
- Boeing: -12.8%
- Caterpillar: -10.5%
- American Express: -10.1%
- IBM: -9.5%
The S&P 500, which professional investors watch more closely, and the Nasdaq Composite also plunged deep in bear territory early in Thursday’s session as it became clear that measures to contain coronavirus would likely impact businesses deeply.
The recent decline has been one of Wall Street’s swiftest retreats of this magnitude. The fastest the S&P 500 has ever fallen from a record into a bear market was over 55 days in 1987.
On Wednesday night, global markets plunged again after Trump’s address to the nation, in which he announced vast travel restrictions on Europe that aim to limit the virus from spreading but will further hurt the travel industry.
His move also raises the specter of more drastic containment measures that could hurt business from international trade down to local businesses.
Trump hinted at plans for tax cuts and other economic relief, but has yet to unveil details. Lawmakers have so far resisted his proposal for a payroll tax holiday, a measure that would be popular with markets.
‘The market judgement on that announcement is that it´s too little too late. And while travel restrictions on people coming from Europe are good from a health point of view, from the point of view of the economy, it´s very, very bad news,’ said Michael McCarthy of CMC Markets.
Read the full text of Donald Trump’s address to the nation on the coronavirus crisis
My fellow Americans: Tonight, I want to speak with you about our nation’s unprecedented response to the coronavirus outbreak that started in China and is now spreading throughout the world.
Today, the World Health Organization officially announced that this is a global pandemic.
We have been in frequent contact with our allies, and we are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people.
This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.
I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens, and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.
From the beginning of time, nations and people have faced unforeseen challenges, including large-scale and very dangerous health threats.
This is the way it always was and always will be. It only matters how you respond, and we are responding with great speed and professionalism.
Our team is the best anywhere in the world.
At the very start of the outbreak, we instituted sweeping travel restrictions on China and put in place the first federally mandated quarantine in over 50 years.
We declared a public health emergency and issued the highest level of travel warning on other countries as the virus spread its horrible infection.
And taking early intense action, we have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe.
The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots.
As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.
After consulting with our top government health professionals, I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and wellbeing of all Americans.
To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days.
The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground.
There will be exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings, and these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval.
Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing.
These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom.
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.
Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.
We are cutting massive amounts of red tape to make antiviral therapies available in record time.
These treatments will significantly reduce the impact and reach of the virus.
Additionally, last week, I signed into law an $8.3 billion funding bill to help CDC and other government agencies fight the virus and support vaccines, treatments, and distribution of medical supplies.
Testing and testing capabilities are expanding rapidly, day by day. We are moving very quickly.
The vast majority of Americans: The risk is very, very low. Young and healthy people can expect to recover fully and quickly if they should get the virus.
The highest risk is for elderly population with underlying health conditions.
The elderly population must be very, very careful. In particular, we are strongly advising that nursing homes for the elderly suspend all medically unnecessary visits.
In general, older Americans should also avoid nonessential travel in crowded areas.
My administration is coordinating directly with communities with the largest outbreaks, and we have issued guidance on school closures, social distancing, and reducing large gatherings.
Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.
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, it is essential that everyone take extra precautions and practice good hygiene.
Each of us has a role to play in defeating this virus.
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 home without fear of financial hardship, I will soon be taking emergency action, which is unprecedented, to provide financial relief.
This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined, or caring for others due to coronavirus.
I will be asking Congress to take legislative action to extend this relief.
Because of the economic policies that we have put into place over the last three years, we have the greatest economy anywhere in the world, by far.
Our banks and financial institutions are fully capitalized and incredibly strong. Our unemployment is at a historic low.
This vast economic prosperity gives us flexibility, reserves, and resources to handle any threat that comes our way.
This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.
However, to provide extra support for American workers, families, and businesses, tonight I am announcing the following additional actions: I am instructing the Small Business Administration to exercise available authority to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected by the coronavirus.
Effective immediately, the SBA will begin providing economic loans in affected states and territories.
These low-interest loans will help small businesses overcome temporary economic disruptions caused by the virus.
To this end, I am asking Congress to increase funding for this program by an additional $50 billion.
Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments, without interest or penalties, for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted.
This action will provide more than $200 billion of additional liquidity to the economy.
Finally, I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief.
Hopefully they will consider this very strongly.
We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus. We made a life-saving move with early action on China.
Now we must take the same action with Europe. We will not delay.
I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people.
I will always put the wellbeing of America first.
If we are vigilant — and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will — we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus.
The virus will not have a chance against us. No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States.
We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world. We are all in this together.
We must put politics aside, stop the partisanship, and unify together as one nation and one family.
As history has proven time and time again, Americans always rise to the challenge and overcome adversity.
Our future remains brighter than anyone can imagine.
Acting with compassion and love, we will heal the sick, care for those in need, help our fellow citizens, and emerge from this challenge stronger and more unified than ever before.
God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you.