HealthDay News — Hoping to curtail the spread of COVID-19 to the United States, travel from most of Europe will be banned for 30 days, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday night.
The ban would apply only to foreign nationals who have been in what is known as the “Schengen Area” at any point for 14 days before their scheduled arrival to the United States. That area encompasses 26 nations, including France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Austria, and Belgium. According to the White House, that area has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside of mainland China.
Shortly after Trump’s announcement, the State Department released an extraordinary advisory telling Americans to reconsider all travel abroad while coronavirus moves across the globe. Trump’s move followed a declaration from the World Health Organization earlier in the day that the COVID-19 outbreak is officially a pandemic.
“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” agency director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., tweeted. He noted that “in the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold and the number of affected countries has tripled.”