On March 11 US President Donald Trump addressed the nation regarding the coronavirus pandemic, announcing a 30 day travel restriction from Europe into the United States in what has been the most crucial address during his almost four-year term in office. President Trump has extended the travel restrictions already in place due to the spread of the coronavirus to Europe. Specifically, Trump said all trips from Europe to the United States will be suspended for the next 30 days with various exceptions.

When Does the Europe Travel Ban Go Into Effect?

The measure applies from midnight on Friday, March 13. Trump initially spoke of the European Union; however, it was later confirmed and clarified that the restrictions apply to the Schengen members, which include 26 European countries. The United Kingdom is therefore excluded from the restrictions. According to the White House, Ireland, Cyprus, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine will not be restricted from entering, either. Meanwhile, Americans will be allowed to travel back into the US if they undergo appropriate tests first.

Trump justified his decision based on his stance that Europe had not taken the same protective measures as the US and had not imposed travel restrictions from China to Europe sufficiently early. He implicitly accused the Europeans of failing in crisis management, while the White House had already put an end to entry for foreign travelers who had been in China the 14 days before by the end of January. Trump also warned in his speech that the elderly needed to be “very, very careful” and ought to avoid “unnecessary trips and crowded areas” before urging nursing homes to suspend “medically unnecessary visits.”

Trump’s Earlier Entry Restrictions

At the end of February, Trump then issued a corresponding regulation for foreigners who had been in Iran in the two previous weeks. At the same time, travel information for affected parts of the country in Italy and South Korea was tightened. The virus has spread rapidly in Iran, South Korea, and Italy as of late. The return of Europeans from the United States does not seem to be prohibited at first, but the economic costs of the unilateral travel ban are likely to be substantial.

For the president, there is much stake here besides any health implications. Right after his address, the US stock market dipped accordingly – after having already collapsed earlier this week. Accordingly, his address did not resemble the usual Trump appearances, not even the usual teleprompter-Trump appearances. There were no partisan attacks, no digression. Instead, perhaps for the first time, the president urged the country to come together during this crisis.

Criticism of Trump’s Coronavirus Response

Prior to his address, Trump had stated that the crisis was waning in China and Asia, which was a positive sign. He also assured that America was better equipped than anyone else in the world to fight the crisis.

Nonetheless, there has been plenty of criticism regarding Trump’s very own crisis management till this stage, notably when it comes to the promised test-kits, which appear to be seldom and thus indicated that the Trump administration is a few steps behind compared to its public presentation and remarks. Moreover, with the virus inevitably spreading across the United States, the in some regards apparent lack preparation of the administration will become more and more amplified and evident – leaving Trump with the probably greatest crisis of his presidency.

The US financial markets continue to remain in free fall. Over seem the days of the strong economy Trump was boasting about. And the virus, Trump assured recently, that would go away on its own, has now because an issue that even Trump cannot spin.

It's a tough moment
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