President Donald Trump addressed the nation from the White House tonight, amid the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus. In a statement from the Oval Office, Trump delivered a sober message to the American public about the virus known as COVID-19.
"Today the WHO announced that this is a global pandemic. We have been in frequent contact with our allies and we are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people," Trump said.
"I'm confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens and we'll ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus. From the beginning of time, nations and people have faced unforeseen challenges including large scale and very dangerous health threats," said Trump. "This is the way it always was and always will be. It only matters how you respond and we are responding with great speed and professionalism."
Among one of the strongest actions Trump announced Wednesday, was that all travel from Europe to the United States would be suspended for the next thirty days, with the exception of the United Kingdom.
Trump said he made the decision 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. The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight. These restrictions will are be adjusted subject to conditions on the ground," Trump said from the Oval Office.
Italy has seen the highest number of infections over the past several weeks, with at least 12,000 confirmed infections and more than 800 deaths. Other countries in Europe, such as France, Spain and Germany, have around 2,000 cases each.
Trump cited his administration's early travel ban on China and Iran, where the outbreak has been severe, as one of the decisions he's made that's saved lives. Some exceptions would be made for Americans who have already gone "undergone appropriate screenings."
"These prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things as we get approval. Anything coming from Europe to the United States is what we are discussing. These restrictions will also not apply to the United Kingdom," Trump said.
The White House later clarified that only people, not cargo, coming from Europe would be subject to the travel ban.
The president also called for a sweeping economic stimulus package that would help the economy amid the outbreak.
"To ensure that working Americans impacted by the virus can stay home without fear of financial hardship I will soon be taking emergency action, which is unprecedented, to provide financial relief," the president said.
Trump said he planned to use his executive authority to direct the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans to small businesses that have been affected by the outbreak and called on Congress to increase funding for the agency by $50 billion.
Trump also said he would instruct the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest and penalties for certain businesses and individuals who have been affected by the outbreak. \
"We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people. This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history," Trump said from the Oval Office on Wednesday.
Trump also recommended that Americans follow the procedures outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and recommended that people wash hands, practice social distancing,
"Wash your hands, clean often used surfaces, cover your face and mouth if you sneeze or cough. Most of all, if you're sick or not feeling well, stay home," Trump said
Trump's address comes the same day the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map, at least 1,281 people in the U.S. have contracted the disease known as COVID-19. At least 38 people have died.
To keep up to date on the latest news about the coronavirus and to understand what you need to stay safe and healthy, check out the Coronavirus: Fact vs Fiction podcast from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
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