President Donald Trump addressed the nation Wednesday night to speak about the ongoing concerns over the coronavirus. The speech came just hours after the World Health Organization officially classified the outbreak as a pandemic. Partway through the speech, Trump announced the biggest changes, including a travel ban between the U.S. and Europe.
"We will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. These restrictions will be subject to conditions on the ground," he said, before talking about possible exemptions for travelers. He also addressed a number of proposals to provide relief of business as well as individuals, ranging from expedited health care to payroll tax exemption.
"Day by day, we are moving very quickly," Trump added, citing the relative low-level risk of fatality. "The elderly population must be very, very careful," he continued, before emphasizing that individual facilities should limit non-essential visits.
"Each of us has a role to play in defeating this virus," he went on to say, before reiterating the talking points including hand-washing, social distancing and staying home if you're feeling sick.
"Our future remains brighter than anyone can imagine," he added near the end. Noticeably absent were any remarks about the shortage of coronavirus test kits, which have been of significant concern to health officials in recent weeks.
So far, roughly 120,000 people worldwide have the disease, with roughly 1,250 of them in the U.S.
On Wednesday, Trump also tweeted that he was "fully prepared to use the full power of the Federal Government" in handling the Coronavirus outbreak.
Trump has received significant criticism regarding his handling the outbreak. Despite his administration's repeated urges to remain calm, he has previously given occasionally contradictory or sometimes false information about the issue. In a recent press conference, he claimed that the number of U.S. coronavirus cases were "going very substantially down, not up." However, that information was contradictory to what he'd been told in a briefing prior, according to CNN.0comments
"Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly," World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death. Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the threat posed by this [coronavirus]. It doesn't change what WHO is doing, and it doesn't change what countries should do."
A significant number of events across the U.S. have been canceled or postponed as a result of the coronavirus. SXSW, Coachella and New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade have all been impacted. NCAA's March Madness will go on, though fans won't be allowed in the games.