hile China’s coronavirus numbers have dropped to record lows, shit sure seems to be hitting the fan everywhere else.
In a televised address on Wednesday night, US President Donald Trump announced that “all” travel would be suspended from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days in order to stem the further spread of the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
Trump said that the policy would go into effect on Friday at midnight, that it did not apply to the United Kingdom, that there would be exemptions for Americans who have “undergone appropriate screening,” and that it would also apply to “trade and cargo.”
We will be suspending all travel from Europe, except the United Kingdom, for the next 30 days. The policy goes into effect Friday at midnight. pic.twitter.com/Yeq1gVCIln
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 12, 2020
While Trump is obviously reading off a teleprompter, his speech still managed to get a surprising number of things wrong with government agencies issuing several corrections after the address
- The ban does not actually to American cities, legal permanent residents, or their immediate family members.
- It also doesn’t apply to cargo and goods.
- It applies not to the whole of Europe but only those 26 countries inside the Schengen economic and travel zone (so Ireland, for example, is exempt as well).
- And it more specifically applies to “most foreign nationals” who have been in the Schengen area at any point during the 14 days prior to their scheduled arrival in the US.
Hoping to get the payroll tax cut approved by both Republicans and Democrats, and please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe. The restriction stops people not goods.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2020
During his address, Trump called the coronavirus a “foreign virus” and accused Europe of failing to take the same actions to control the outbreak that he had. “As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe,” Trump said.
Of course, Trump’s administration has been heavily criticized for its own response to the coronavirus, reacting slowly to the outbreak, failing to develop a cohesive plan, and not getting enough testing kits out to hospitals in need.
Trump himself has mostly tried to play down the seriousness of the disease, frequently casting it as not much worse than the common flu… while also calling on Congress to pass massive financial relief measures because of the epidemic, including travel sector bailouts and a payroll tax holiday.
So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2020
So far, more than 1,200 cases have been diagnosed in the United States.
Considering that the coronavirus has already spread across the country and to nations around the globe, it seems unlikely that Trump’s new highly selective travel ban will do much to slow it down.