With more than 1200 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in the US, the country’s president, Donald Trump, on Wednesday announced far-reaching restrictions. Chief among them: a ban on all inbound flights from Europe for a month, arguably the most stringent peacetime restriction on travel in US history.
He specified that the ban would not include the United Kingdom.
Though Trump said the ban would apply to both passengers and “the tremendous amount of trade and cargo,” the White House later clarified that goods and cargo would be exempt. It is due to begin Friday, March 13, at midnight.
Speaking from the Oval Office in a televised presidential address, Trump described these “strong but necessary” actions to keep the “foreign virus” at bay. He also indicated that health insurance companies had agreed to waive copayments and extend coverage for Covid-19 treatment.
To minimize the impact, he called for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide $50 billion in loans to affected companies, while tax payments are to be deferred to add $200 billion in liquidity to the economy.
“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.”
The ban, set provisionally for 30 days, is expected to have significant economic effects on the US economy, as well as on the already suffering airline industry worldwide. Immediately following the announcement, US stock futures fell an average of about 1.4%, across the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq.