Trump’s Travel Ban Spawns Confusion Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The administration also announced steps to provide emergency financial relief for workers and businesses.

Trump’s Travel Ban Spawns Confusion Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

In an address to the nation on Wednesday night, President Trump announced that he will be suspending travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days, starting Friday, March 13, at midnight in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The 30-day restriction will not apply to U.S. permanent residents and will not affect travel from Britain. Vice President Mike Pence later added that Americans and legal residents returning to the U.S. from Europe will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Confusion around trade and treatments
After initially suggesting in his address that the ban on travel would include “trade and cargo,” Trump later tweeted that “trade will in no way be affected” and that the restriction “stops people not goods.”

Some organizations—including the World Health Organization, which on Wednesday declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic—contend that international travel bans are not effective in stemming the spread of infection.

Trump also said in his address that health insurance companies had agreed to cover coronavirus treatments and waive related co-payments for affected patients. The White House later amended those details, clarifying that co-payments would still be in effect for treatments but would be waived for coronavirus testing.

The administration is also taking steps to provide emergency financial relief for workers who become sick and need to be quarantined. Trump added that he plans to instruct the Treasury Department to “defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted.”

Updated on March 12, 2020.

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