President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a suspension of all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The United Kingdom will not be included in the travel ban.
Trump made the announcement in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the novel coronavirus and saying U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travelers.
Trump’s Oval Office address marked a dramatic shift in messaging for a president who, as recently as Monday, compared the rapidly-spreading virus to the common flu and tweeted that “nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on.”
Wednesday’s remarks were only the second time Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office, a setting typically reserved for special circumstances. The address came just a day after U.S. coronavirus infections topped 1,000, with Trump’s top health officials sounding the alarm that the domestic outbreak would only get worse.
”I can say we will see more cases, and things will get worse than they are right now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee. He said the virus is “10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.”
Trump told the nation, “America is the Greatest Country in the world… together we are putting into policy a plan to prevent, detect, treat and create a vaccine against Coronavirus to save lives in America and the world. America will get it done!”