President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the United States will broaden its European travel ban, adding Britain and Ireland to its list, and was considering imposing restrictions on travel within the U.S. to areas hit hard by the coronavirus spread.
“We are looking at it very seriously, yeah, because they’ve had a little bit of activity unfortunately,” he said when asked in the White House briefing room about reports that the European travel ban would be extended. “So we’re going to be looking at that — we actually already have looked at it and that is going to be announced.”
Asked if he was considering any domestic travel restrictions, Trump said: “Yes, specifically from certain areas, yes we are.”
“We’re working with the states and we’re considering other restrictions, yes,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence confirmed later in the briefing that the travel from U.K. and Ireland would be suspended as of midnight Monday night EDT. He said it was after the unanimous recommendation from health experts at the White House.
The ban will not apply to U.S. citizens, a spokesperson said at the press conference.
Upon returning to the U.S., nationals are being encouraged to undergo a 14-day quarantine as a precaution to curb virus spread.
While the travel ban applies to foreign nationals, it will not apply to cargo or items being traded, the spokesperson said.
“We continue to implement the President’s vision,” Vice President Mike Pence said at the press conference Saturday.
“As you know, it’s been a brisk few days,” Pence said, noting how the U.S. implemented a state of emergency on Friday.
Trump reiterated how certain areas – including China – have been “hot spots” for the virus.
He said that travel bans will help stop the coronavirus spread.
Trump said he was also giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients.