President Trump says restricting travel from Europe is necessary.
President Trump announced on Wednesday night that he was taking action to stem the spread of the coronavirus by suspending most travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, beginning on Friday. The restrictions do not apply to Britain, he said.
Mr. Trump imposed a 30-day ban on foreigners who have been in the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area in the previous two weeks. The limits take effect Friday at midnight and will exempt American citizens and permanent legal residents and their families, although they could be funneled to certain airports for enhanced screening.
Later on Wednesday night, the State Department issued an advisory telling Americans to “reconsider travel” to all countries because of the global effects of the coronavirus. It is the department’s second-strongest advisory, behind “do not travel.”
Speaking from the Oval Office, Mr. Trump also said health insurance companies had agreed to extend insurance coverage to cover coronavirus treatments as well as waive related co-payments.
The president added that he planned to soon announce emergency action to provide financial relief for workers who fall ill or need to be quarantined. He said he would ask Congress to take legislative action to extend that relief but did not detail what that would be. He said he would instruct the Treasury Department to “defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted.”
The president, sitting behind the Resolute Desk with his arms crossed, finally appeared to be acknowledging the severity of the virus, calling it a “horrible infection” and acknowledging that Americans should cut back on travel that was not necessary.
It signaled a break from the business-as-usual attitude he had been trying to project as recently as Tuesday, when he urged Americans to “stay calm” and said the virus would soon go away. But Mr. Trump continued to anticipate a fast end date to the spread of the coronavirus, even as medical experts have warned that the pandemic will worsen.
“This is not a financial crisis,” he said. “This is just a temporary moment in time that we will overcome as a nation and a world.”
The address capped a day when concerns about the threat of the virus seemed to reach a new pitch and measures to protect vulnerable populations began to upend regular life across the country. Many schools announced they would close indefinitely, some nursing homes banned visitors, and workplaces across the country urged their employees to work from home.
This is a global pandemic, the W.H.O. says.
The spread of the coronavirus across more than 100 countries now qualifies as a global pandemic, World Health Organization officials said on Wednesday, confirming what many epidemiologists have been saying for weeks.
Until now, the W.H.O. had avoided using the term, for fear that people would think the outbreak was unstoppable and countries would give up on trying to contain it.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of the W.H.O., said at a news conference in Geneva.
“We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough,” he added. “All countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”
There is evidence on six continents of sustained transmission of the virus, which has infected more than 120,000 people and killed more than 4,300. The pandemic designation is largely symbolic, but public health officials know that the public will hear in the word elements of danger and risk.
According to the W.H.O., an epidemic is defined as a regional outbreak of an illness that spreads unexpectedly. In 2010, it defined a pandemic as “the worldwide spread of a new disease” that affects large numbers of people. The C.D.C. says it is “an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.”
The last pandemic declared by the W.H.O. was in 2009, for a new strain of H1N1 influenza.
Tom Hanks says he and his wife have the coronavirus.
The Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks announced on Wednesday night that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for the coronavirus. Mr. Hanks, 63, is one of the most famous celebrities to contract the virus that has spread throughout the globe.
Mr. Hanks, who is in Australia to film a movie about the life of Elvis Presley, wrote that he and Ms. Wilson, also an actor, had gotten tested after feeling tired with body aches and feverish temperatures. The couple will remain isolated for as long as public health requires, Mr. Hanks wrote.
“Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?” Mr. Hanks wrote in the statement, which was accompanied by a photograph of a lone medical glove in a hazardous waste container.
Hanks is playing the role of Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s eccentric manager, who groomed the famous singer to stardom in the 1950s. Production on the film, which is being directed by Baz Luhrmann, is set to begin filming on Monday.
Australia has had more than 120 cases confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday.
At a news conference, Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of Queensland, said those who had been contacnt with the couple for more than 15 minutes would need to self isolate. “So a selfie,” she said, “wouldn’t count.”
“What this signals is that this coronavirus can happen to anyone,” she added.
The N.B.A. suspends its season after a player tests positive for the coronavirus.
The N.B.A. will suspend its season after a Utah Jazz player was found to have tested positive for the coronavirus, the league announced on Wednesday. The league said the suspension would take effect after the completion of Wednesday’s schedule.
In Oklahoma City, a game between the Thunder and the Jazz was seconds away from starting when the Thunder’s head medical staffer sprinted onto the court to talk to referees. Players from both teams then left for their locker rooms.
Trump’s European travel ban shakes global stock markets.
Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region fell broadly and heavily on Thursday on mounting signs that the coronavirus outbreak will take a dramatic toll on the global economy.
Shares in Japan were down more than 5 percent midday, while shares in Australia led the region’s slump with a fall of more than 6 percent. Futures markets signaled dire openings for Wall Street and European stocks as well.
With global growth on the line, investors have been looking for world leaders to step in to keep the economic gears turning. Mr. Trump on Wednesday said he would extend financial relief for sick workers and would ask Congress for more. Britain has said it would spend more than $30 billion. Central banks are cutting interest rates.
So far, for investors, it hasn’t been enough.
Prices for 10 year U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional safe haven for investors, jumped in Asian trading on Thursday, helping to keep yields at historic lows.
Oil prices were down more than 5 percent.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index was down 5.2 percent in midday trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index tumbled 6.3 percent.
Italy orders businesses to close, tightening its lockdown.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy on Wednesday ordered almost all businesses nationwide to close as infections and deaths from the new coronavirus continued to soar, two days after he announced stringent travel restrictions.
Pharmacies, grocery stores, banks and public transit will be allowed to operate, but any other commercial enterprise that is not vital — restaurants, bars, most stores, cafes, beauty salons — must close to limit the contagion, Mr. Conte said in an evening address to the nation.
Italy had already imposed controls unlike anything seen in a modern democracy, banning public gatherings and telling a nation of 60 million people to halt travel except for work or emergencies. But in Italy and across Europe, the epidemic has spread at a speed that has left countries scrambling to come up with containment plans.
Mr. Conte did not say when the new order would go into effect, but many businesses had already closed, either based on their own judgments or in expectation of a government decree.
“If the numbers keep going up, which is not at all improbable,” Mr. Conte said, it would mean not that new measures were needed, but that Italians should stick to those already imposed. “We must be lucid, measured, rigorous, responsible.”
The benefits of Italy’s sacrifice will not be seen for weeks, he warned.
Italy reported more than 2,300 new cases on Wednesday, driving its total to more than 12,000, with 827 deaths — the second-worst outbreak in the world, after China. Italy has more than half the cases in Europe.
Across Europe, the number of confirmed infections jumped by almost a quarter from Tuesday to Wednesday, reaching more than 22,000.
France, with almost 2,300 infections, and Spain, with almost 2,200, each reported an increase of about 500 from Tuesday. Germany had about 1,600.
Britain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland each have more than 400 confirmed infections. Denmark and Belgium have both reported more than 300 cases.
Even the island nation of Iceland has not escaped, with more than 80 infections in a population of about 364,000, one of the highest number of cases per capita worldwide.
Washington, Kentucky, New York and other states move toward stronger measures.
In Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine said a ban on large events was imminent. Churches and college campuses shut their doors. New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the largest such celebration in the world, was postponed.
And in Washington State, where the virus has hit Americans hardest, Gov. Jay Inslee said on Wednesday that people should no longer sit shoulder-to-shoulder in local bars. In the era of the coronavirus, he said, such socializing has become “just totally unacceptable.”
Governments around the country were rapidly embarking on new containment efforts on Wednesday as the number of known U.S. cases of coronavirus infection rose to more than 1,200, a day after jumping by more than one-third. People in 42 states and the District of Columbia have now tested positive for the virus, and there have been at least 37 related deaths.
Nowhere have the moves become more drastic and more urgent than in the Seattle area, where the state banned public gatherings of 250 people or more in three counties. Within hours, several local school districts with a combined enrollment of about 100,000 students said they would close for at least two weeks; a Patti Smith concert was postponed; and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle canceled all public masses, becoming the first Catholic archdiocese in the country to do so.
In San Francisco, where Mayor London N. Breed announced a ban on group events of more than 1,000 people, the San Francisco Giants announced that their exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics scheduled for May 24 would not take place at Oracle Park. Ohio’s governor said he would impose a similar ban after new evidence concluded that the virus was spreading through community transmission in the state.
“People are going to say, ‘Oh my God, really, you’re doing that?’” Governor DeWine told reporters. “You’re going to look back on it in a week and say, ‘That wasn’t a difficult decision.’”
In New York, the state and city universities and colleges, with about 700,000 students in all, will shift primarily to online classes starting on March 19, Gov. Andrew m. Cuomo said on Wednesday. Many other colleges have canceled in-person classes, and some have told students not to return after their spring breaks.
The now-canceled St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Manhattan is one of the city’s largest recurring public events, drawing roughly 150,000 marchers and two million spectators.
Are you prepared? How to stock your pantry and other tips.
Here are tips for stocking your pantry in ways that are practical and delicious; answers to some common questions about travel, and steps to take when talking to an anxious teen about coronavirus.
Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Elisabetta Povoledo, Steven Erlanger, Alissa J. Rubin, Alexandra Stevenson, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Daniel Victor, Sui-Lee Wee, Annie Karni, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Vindu Goel, Elian Peltier, Jason Horowitz, Emma Bubola, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Jorge Arangure, Matthew Futterman, Elaine Yu, Amy Qin, Alan Rappeport, Emily Cochrane, Karen Zraick, Sandra E. Garcia, Scott Cacciola, Sopan Deb, Brooks Barnes, Noah Weiland, Sheri Fink, Mike Baker, Monika Pronczuk, Melissa Eddy, Roni Caryn Rabin, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Andrew Keh, and Katie Thomas.