President Donald Trump is suspending all travel between the U.S. and Europe for 30 days beginning Friday as he seeks to combat a viral pandemic.
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.
“We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,“ Trump said. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”
Trump said the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom and the U.S. would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.
The president said he was also directing agencies to provide unspecified financial relief for “for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus,“ and asked Congress to take action to extend it.
Trump said the U.S. will will defer tax payments for some individual and business filers for three months to lessen the impacts of the virus outbreak. He said the Small Business Administration will also make low-interest loans available to businesses to help them weather the storm.
In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed banned all gatherings of 1,000 or more people for the next two weeks in the city of 880,000, including Golden State Warriors basketball games. California’s Santa Clara County, home to San Jose and Silicon Valley, did the same.
The Seattle public school system, which has about 53,000 students, announced that it would close starting Thursday.
The number of confirmed cases of the infection topped 1,000 in the U.S. and the World Health Organization declared the global crisis is now a pandemic.