WASHINGTON / GENEVA (Reuters) – US President Donald Trump said the United States would stop all passenger travel from continental Europe on Friday to limit the spread of the corona virus after the outbreak was officially declared a pandemic and global markets began to falter .
Trump announced the live television travel ban along with emergency funds to boost the US economy, saying, “This is not a financial crisis. This is just a temporary moment that we as a nation and as a world will overcome together. ”
Global markets fell immediately after the announcement, with the US S & P500 futures ESc1 falling more than 3% and the Japanese Nikkei and the Australian S & P / ASX 200 falling more than 4%. The dollar lost 1% against the yen.
Trump’s announcement came after Italy, the worst affected country in Europe, passed the strictest controls on a western nation since World War II, closing bars, hairdressers and restaurants, and other pre-existing restrictions.
Other countries closed schools and canceled sporting events and other large gatherings. The National Basketball Association interrupted the season after a Utah jazz player tested positive.
American actor Tom Hanks said he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, tested positive after feeling tired with a mild fever in Australia, where he is working on a film.
“In order to do things properly, as is currently required in the world, we were tested for the corona virus and found it to be positive,” said the 63-year-old Hanks in a tweet.
He said that he and Wilson, also 63, “would be tested, observed and isolated as long as public health and safety required”.
The virus put the Dow in a bear market for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, as massive financial incentives promised by governments around the world did not reassure investors.
The United States, which has reported 1,281 cases and 37 deaths, has not yet implemented large-scale containment measures, but major sporting and musical events have either been canceled or postponed.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City has been canceled, said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday. The parade, which usually takes place on March 17th, draws millions of spectators along Fifth Avenue in Manhattan to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. The tradition goes back to 1762.
U.S. travel restrictions on Europe would apply from midnight on Friday, Trump said, adding that similar restrictions for travelers from China and South Korea would have helped to limit the spread of the virus. The curbs would not apply to travelers from the UK or freight from Europe.
“We are at a critical time in the fight against the virus. We have taken a life-saving step with early action against China. Now we have to do the same with Europe. We will not hesitate, ”said Trump, who had previously downplayed the risks of coronavirus.
According to Reuters, there are 126,000 coronavirus cases worldwide, including more than 4,600 confirmed deaths. Almost 7,000 cases were reported last day, well above the average daily amount reported in China during the virus’s first peak.
Wall Street stocks fell nearly 5% prior to Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, and skittish investors waiting for details on U.S. action were irritated by news that the White House had ordered federal health officials to dozens of meetings treat classified as virus-related.
In Europe, Denmark has closed all schools and universities since Monday, a 10-fold increase in cases, and the Italian health care system is under increasing strain despite efforts to curb the outbreak.
The new restrictions in Italy were introduced after confirmed cases increased from 10,149 to 12,462 on Wednesday and the death toll in 196 hours rose by 196 to 827.
The country’s 60 million people are locked up. “We will only be able to see the impact of this huge effort in a few weeks,” said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said up to 70% of the population is likely to be infected as the virus spreads around the world without healing.
Cuba confirmed its first case and in the Middle East Qatar reported 238 other coronavirus infections to quarantined expatriates in a residential area.
While the outbreak in China has slowed dramatically, the number of cases outside of China has tripled and tripled in the past two weeks, with Iran and Italy being the hardest hit countries in the Middle East and Europe.
“Italy and Iran are at the forefront and suffering, but other countries will be in this situation very soon,” said WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) first described the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday as a pandemic, but the use of the word pandemic does nothing to change the agency’s response, said Dr. Mike Ryan, director of the emergency program at the Geneva-based agency.
He also said there was “a strong element of controllability” and “a real chance to blunt the curve … and reduce the number of cases.”
In Tokyo, the pandemic classification raised concerns about how the corona virus will affect the Summer Olympics, which are slated to begin on July 24.
At first, a cancellation was unthinkable, Kyodo News quoted the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike.
Trump said he would provide financial relief to workers who are sick, quarantined, or cared for because of the illness, including financial measures to help affected companies and individuals.
He said that more than $ 200 billion in additional liquidity for the economy would come from the finance department, which postpones tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and companies affected by coronavirus.
Britain launched a £ 30 billion (US $ 38.54 billion) stimulus plan when new finance minister Rishi Sunak said the spread of the virus had “significant impact” on the economy, even if it was likely to be temporary.
The Australian government has announced it will pump AUD 17.6 billion ($ 11.4 billion) into the economy, which is about 1.2% of GDP, to prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus from entering the country in its first Recession has been driving for almost 30 years.
Additional reporting by Kate Kelland, Paul Sandle and David Milliken in London; David Lawder, Alexandra Alper and Steve Holland in Washington; Dan Whitcomb and Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, Chris Gallagher in Tokyo; Thomas Escritt and Paul Carrel in Berlin; Giuseppe Fonte and Giulia Segreti in Rome; Ryan Woo in Beijing; Renju Jose in Sydney; Letters from Lisa Shumaker and Stephen Coates; Edited by Cynthia Osterman and XX