President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence announced Saturday a ban on travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland to the US as the global coronavirus pandemic escalates.
The new rules will go into effect at midnight ET on Monday. American citizens and legal permanent residents in the UK and Ireland will be allowed to return to the US, Pence added.
Trump had already announced travel restrictions from 26 European countries to the US for at least 30 days during an Oval Office address Wednesday night. Those rules went into effect just before midnight Friday.
Trump's Wednesday announcement created confusion and chaos for Americans abroad in Europe over the lack of clarity as to whether the travel ban applied to them.
Officials later had to clarify that the travel restrictions would only apply to foreign nationals who had been present in 26 European countries during the two weeks prior to their arrival to the US. The restrictions would not apply to US citizens, legal permanent residents, and their family members. And in spite of what Trump said during his address, trade and cargo will also not be affected.
The Department of Homeland Security also posted notice on Friday saying American travelers coming from Europe will be required to land in one of 13 airports in the US for screening.
Trump announced during the press conference Saturday that he was tested for COVID-19 Friday night – contrary to a statement from his White House physician which said he did not need to be tested – and said had his temperature taken before entering the briefing room.
Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said Saturday that there were approximately 2,226 cases and 50 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States so far, indicating that "we have not reached our peak."
"We will see more cases and we will see more suffering and death," predominantly among vulnerable populations, Fauci said. "But built in that is a challenge, and the challenge is we still have the opportunity is to influence the course of that curve."
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