US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday evening that the US will be suspending all travel from Europe to the US for 30 days starting on Friday at midnight.
The restrictions will not apply to Britain, he said in a statement to the nation from the White House.
“We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus,” Trump said. “We made a lifesaving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe.”
“I will never hesitate to take any steps to protect the lives, health and safety of the American people. I will always put the wellbeing of America first,” he stressed.
Trump noted his decision last month to curb travel to the United States from China, South Korea and Iran, adding Europe increased its own exposure to the virus by failing to do the same.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots. As a result, a number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travel from Europe,” continued the President, who added that the US had seen “dramatically fewer cases” than in Europe as a result of his early actions.
Trump insisted the US is not suffering through a financial crisis and said the US economy and financial system was strong enough to weather a potential economic slowdown driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is not a financial crisis. This is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation," Trump stressed.
He maintained that the risk to average Americans remains “very, very low” but also cast the battle against the virus as being above politics, and said all Americans needed to work on the issue together.
“Each of us has a role to play in defeating this virus,” said Trump, who called on the country to “put politics aside” in order to chart a path forward together on the response to the virus.