WASHINGTON – In an address to the nation Wednesday night, President Trump announced sweeping travel restrictions on travel from 26 European countries.
"We made a life-saving move with early action in China," Trump said from the Oval Office desk. "Now we must take the same action in Europe."
Beginning Friday at midnight, travel from Europe to the US will be suspended for 30 days. The United Kingdom is one of few exceptions.
Trump also announced emergency action to give financial relief to workers. "This will be targeted for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus," he said.
This includes deferring tax payments for people and businesses and a payroll tax cut, though the tax cut is unpopular with Democrats and therefore might not move forward.
Watch President Trump's address to the nation below. The address starts at 24:00.
Meanwhile, stocks have fallen into a bear market amid concerns about the spread of the virus and its impact on the economy.
10 Times More Lethal Than the Flu
Top health officials are warning about the speed of its spread and the need to move quickly to contain it.
"It is ten times more lethal than the seasonal flu," said Dr. Anthony Fauci with the National Institutes of Health when he testified before Congress Wednesday. "I think that's something that people can get their arms around and understand."
When asked to give an estimate on the numbers of cases, Fauci said it depends on the government's response and warned that without aggressive action, the number could grow by the millions.
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a global pandemic, meaning the virus is spreading widely.
And now, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, have tested positive. Both are under quarantine in Australia.
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) March 12, 2020
Avoid Large Gatherings of People
Health officials are urging people to avoid large group gatherings.
"Anything that has large crowds is something that would give a risk to spread," said Fauci.