In the United States, President Trump addressed the nation in a primetime speech from the Oval Office Wednesday, ordering a travel ban that’s unprecedented in U.S. history.
President Donald Trump: “I have decided to take several strong but necessary actions to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. 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 said the travel ban would not apply to the United Kingdom — even though coronavirus is spreading in Britain and Northern Ireland. Trump owns Trump Turnberry and Trump International Golf Links in Britain.
Trump’s address inspired panic in financial markets after he said he was imposing restrictions on “tremendous amount of trade and cargo” from Europe. Dow futures dropped 1,100 points immediately after the comments, building on historic losses in recent days that ended an 11-year bull market. Trump quickly issued a correction to his Oval Office address, tweeting that the restriction “stops people not goods.”
Trump also said during his speech that U.S. insurance companies have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments. A spokesperson for America’s Health Insurance Plans quickly issued a statement saying the waived copays would only apply to coronavirus tests, not treatment.
And Trump also later clarified that U.S. citizens in Europe will be allowed to return home — though they will have to undergo screenings.
During the address, Trump referred to the COVID-19 pathogen as a “foreign virus” that “started in China.” China’s Foreign Ministry has condemned such rhetoric as a “despicable practice” meant to stigmatize China.