Global markets tumble as coronavirus pandemic sparks travel bans

During his speech, Trump defined the ban as a blanket prohibition on travel from Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom.

President Donald Trump has announced a ban on travel from Europe in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

He then said "these prohibitions will not only apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo, but various other things".

Asked whether he would consider travel restrictions within the United States to prevent people from spreading the virus between regions, Trump said he could possibly consider that step "if an area gets too hot".

After Trump's address, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced a series of moves, including restrictions for 60 days on travel by servicemembers, Defense Department civilians and their families to, from and through the four countries now designated by the Centers for Disease Control as the highest risk COVID-19 counties - China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.

The ban is due to go into effect on Friday at midnight EDT (0400 GMT).

His address from the Oval Office comes hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic and the number of confirmed cases in the USA climbed to more than 1,000. The 30-day ban applies only to foreign nationals, not to legal permanent US residents and generally their immediately family members, according to the Department of Homeland Security. The travel ban immediately brought more questions than answers, and it was one more head-spinning piece of news on a day that also included the World Health Organization declaring the virus a global pandemic, the National Basketball Association canceling the remainder of its season, and actor Tom Hanks disclosing that he and his wife have tested positive for the virus.

About 4,500 people have died so far worldwide.

Numbers are expected to skyrocket in the United States once more testing is done.

But the reality is that the virus is already in America.

Trump said he is also instructing the Small Business Administration to provide low-interest loans to small businesses affected by the coronavirus and asking Congress to increase funding for this program by $50 billion and provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief.

Multiple cultural and sporting events have been cancelled across the United States, schools and universities are closing, and companies are scrambling to face the probability of sending many employees home on sick leave or self-quarantine.

It's an unfortunate staple of Trump's presidency: on everything from trade to climate to national security, he and his team seem to have a real problem communicating with our allies.

In his speech, though, he not only proposed the travel restrictions but warned of risks to the elderly. Shortly after, the White House said Trump, 73, would be canceling a trip to Nevada and Colorado on Thursday out of "caution".

And Trump also later clarified that US citizens in Europe will be allowed to return home - though they will have to undergo screenings.

For Trump, steadying market jitters is a must if he is to maintain his reelection message of delivering a booming economy.

Trump said he did not fully support the Democratic bill, saying there were "goodies" included "that have nothing to do with what we're talking about" but he did not give details. Democrats and some Republicans have opposed that proposal. "That's like a tax cut", he said.

"The trip is canceled", said a European Union official.

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