Duvar English – Reuters
U.S. President Donald Trump imposed sweeping restrictions on travel from European countries over the rapidly spreading coronavirus, with Turkey not included in the list.
Trump ordered travel from Europe to the United States restricted for 30 days, responding to mounting pressure to take action against the coronavirus outbreak disrupting nearly all corners of U.S. daily life.
“We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people,” Trump said in a prime-time televised address from the Oval Office on March 11.
“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”
The travel order, which starts at midnight on March 13, does not apply to Britain, or to Americans undergoing “appropriate screenings,” Trump said.
After triggering confusion by suggesting trade with Europe would also be suspended, Trump clarified that “trade will in no way be affected.”
“The restriction stops people not goods,” he said on Twitter moments after his speech.
The restriction applies to countries in the Schengen Area, which are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Trump said his government had been in frequent contact with U.S. allies about the restriction, but European Union officials were not notified about it ahead of time, said one diplomat.
“There was no heads-up, no coordination as the president claimed,” said the diplomat, who was not authorized to speak publicly.
In an effort to lessen the economic impact of the outbreak and the restrictions, Trump instructed the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain business and individuals hit by the health crisis.
The president also said he would take emergency action to provide financial relief for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus. And he said he was directing the Small Business Administration to provide capital and liquidity to firms affected coronavirus, including low-interest loans.