President Donald Trump placed a ban on travel from Europe for the next 30 days during a prime-time Oval Office speech Wednesday night. The move comes amid fears of a global recession and the World Health Organization labeling the coronavirus a pandemic.

The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight and extend to 26 countries in the visa-free Schengen Area, but excluding the U.K. and Ireland, where Trump has golf courses and resorts.

The directive only applies to foreigners and resembles restrictions placed on China last month. “We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus,” Trump said. “We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe. We will not delay. I will never hesitate to take any necessary steps to protect the lives, health, and safety of the American people. I will always put the wellbeing of America first.”

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Trump signed a presidential proclamation earlier Wednesday after critics had rebuked him for not taking COVID-19 seriously. Trump had previously called the the virus a “hoax,” but after financial markets collapsed and thousands of more U.S. cases were reported, he changed gears. He reassured Americans that, “This is not a financial crisis, this is just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.”

As scientists race to develop a vaccine, Trump reminded the public of hygienic practices. “If we are vigilant – and we can reduce the chance of infection, which we will – we will significantly impede the transmission of the virus,” he said. “The virus will not have a chance against us.”

 

 

“No nation is more prepared or more resilient than the United States,” Trump said. “We have the best economy, the most advanced healthcare, and the most talented doctors, scientists, and researchers anywhere in the world.”

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