In an extraordinary step, US President Donald Trump announced in a televised speech from the Oval Office on March 11 that the United States is suspending all travel from Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom, in order to try and stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The travel suspension will be effective starting Friday, March 13.
Trump labeled the 30-day travel suspension as the most aggressive effort to fight a foreign virus in modern history.
“We are marshaling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people. This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history,” Trump said.
Trump blames Europe for leniency
The US president accused the European Union (EU) of failing to take the necessary measures to contain the coronavirus, resulting in the spread of the deadly virus throughout the continent.
“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe,” he said.
China and South Korea restrictions to be reevaluated
Trump also went on to say that the US will closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus situation and will reevaluate the travel warnings and restrictions to China and South Korea.
“At the same time, we are monitoring the situation in China and in South Korea. And, as their situation improves, we will re-evaluate the restrictions and warnings that are currently in place for a possible early opening,” Trump said.
Co-payments on coronavirus treatment waived
Trump also announced the waiver of insurance co-payment (copay) to treat the coronavirus after striking an agreement with leading insurers — including Anthem, Cigna, Humana and Aetna — earlier in the week.
Medicare and Medicaid will also cover costs for tests and treatment without copays.
“Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of (the) health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all co-payments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing.
“We are cutting massive amounts of red tape to make antiviral therapy available in record time. These treatments will significantly reduce the impact and reach of the virus,” Trump stated.