President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a 30-day bar on foreigners traveling from most of Europe to the United States in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus — ratcheting up his administration’s response after battling criticism for previously downplaying the crisis.
In a rare address from the Oval Office, Trump said the European Union had “failed to take the same precautions” as the U.S. had implemented to contain the coronavirus outbreak, prompting his decision to temporarily suspend travel between the two continents. The restrictions will not apply to the United Kingdom, where the number of confirmed cases topped 400 on Wednesday.
“We made a life-saving move with early action on China, now we must take the same action with Europe,” Trump said in an 11-minute televised address, referencing his February decision to restrict travel from China. “Smart action today will prevent the spread of the virus tomorrow.”
Trump blamed travelers from Europe for bringing coronavirus to the U.S., which currently has over 1,000 coronavirus cases.
“A number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe,” he said.
The Department of Homeland Security later clarified that that the restrictions only prohibited foreign nationals traveling from Europe to enter the U.S.