US suspends travel from Europe

US President Donald Trump has announced a 30-day travel ban from Europe to the United States for foreign nationals, but the BBC reports his "strong but necessary" restrictions will not apply to the UK.

"To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days," Trump was quoted as saying.

"The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight."

The restriction applkies to foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area, 26 countries in Europe with open border agreements, in the last 14 days.

American citizens are exempt from restrictions but will be directed to a limited number of airports where screening for Covid-19 can take place.

The New York Times reports Trump mentioned health insurance companies had agreed to extend insurance coverage to cover coronavirus treatments and waive related co-payments.

Trump has also announced an economic assistance package to support businesses and workers who have been impacted by the coronavirus.

The package includes a loan program to businesses affected by Covid-19, and the President has instructed the Department of Treasury to defer tax payments for certain individuals and businesses. 

The announcement was made after the WHO declared a pandemic for the virus

Updated at 12:30pm AEDT on 12 March 2020.


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