President Donald Trump has announced the US will ban all travel from Europe as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise.
Trump made the announcement in during an Oval Office address to the nation over the coronavirus threat.
“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,” he said.
The travel restrictions will kick in at midnight on Friday local time but will not apply to the UK.
Trump said “we are marshalling the full power” of the government and private sector to protect the American people.
He said the new travel restrictions were “strong but necessary”, calling the COVID-19 virus a “horrible infection”.
The President praised the nation’s “unprecedented response” to the outbreak, while also blaming the European Union for failing to take early action against the virus.
“Taking early intense action, we have seen dramatically fewer cases of the virus in the United States than are now present in Europe,” he said.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots.
“As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travellers from Europe.”
The ban will also apply to trade and cargo that come from Europe, with Trump saying various other things will be restricted as they “get approval”.
The number of confirmed cases of the infection topped 1000 in the US, with officials warning the outbreak is only going to get worse.
Trump said he was also directing agencies to provide unspecified financial relief “for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus,” and asked Congress to take action to extend it.
Trump said the US will defer tax payments for some individual and business filers for three months to lessen the impacts of the virus outbreak.
He said the Small Business Administration will also make low-interest loans available to businesses to help them weather the storm.
“This is not a financial crisis,” he said.
“This just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.”
Trump also reiterated his call on Congress to pass a cut to the federal payroll tax in order to stimulate the economy.