BREAKING: Trump cancels all U.S. travel to and from Europe, WHO declares pandemic
March 11, 2020
Update: President Donald Trump announced Wednesday evening his plan to cancel all travel to and from Europe in an effort to impede the spread of coronavirus COVID-19. The restriction does not apply to the United Kingdom.
Trump stated that he is coordinating “the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”
Trump’s national Oval Office address was a rare occasion. The president, who received backlash for what many considered to be a passive approach to what has since been categorized by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, has seen his approval rating decrease as the coronavirus impacts the stock market.
4:00 p.m.: The World Health Organization (WHO) classified the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 a pandemic, the organization’s first such declaration in 11 years.
As of March 11, WHO–defines a pandemic as the “worldwide spread of a new disease” in which most people are not immune–confirmed over 118,000 cases worldwide and 4,000 deaths, with Antarctica remaining the only continent untouched by the outbreak.
The pandemic hit Italy particularly hard over the past day, with Italy’s Protection Agency confirming almost 200 deaths over the past 24 hours. Following the additional 196 confirmed deaths between Tuesday and Wednesday, the Italian death toll rose to 897. with confirmed cases increased from 10,149 to 12,462.
Speaking in response to the rapidly increasing presence of COVID-19, Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte shared the government’s plan to allocate $25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) to blunt the outbreak’s impact on an already-reeling economy.
Italy, which attempted to hinder the spread of the diseases by quarantining 17 million people in the north, banned all nonessential travel and public gathering through April 3. The Western European nation also postponed or canceled and sporting events and extended the time that schools are shutdown.
Outside of China, Italy is home to the most confirmed COVID-19 cases, emerging as an epicenter for the virus. Italy’s initial restrictions, which impacted Milan, Venice, Parma and much of Italy’s industrial focal point, preceded what has developed into a nationwide lock down.
Speaking during a Monday evening press conference, Conte stated that, “All the measure of the red zones are now extended to all of the national territory.”
With public discontentment on the rise–including an influx of prison riots–Conte categorized the enhanced measures as an effort to protect the general public, particularly the nation’s most vulnerable demographics.
On Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus outlined the novelty of the newly-defined pandemic while also offering a message of optimism.
“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time,” said Ghebreyesus, before going on to explain the pandemic classification does not alter the organization’s perception of the disease.
However, in a conversation with CNN, a coordinator for intensive care in the crisis unit for the northern Lombardy region said that the healthcare system was on the verge of collapse.
The number of reported coronavirus COVID-19 in the United States of America cases rose exponentially over the past week. As of Wednesday afternoon, over 1,000 cases and 33 deaths have been confirmed. Of the 33 coronavirus COVID-19 deaths, 25 occurred in Washington state, four in California, four in Florida, one in New Jersey and one in South Dakota.
The last WHO-declared pandemic was the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009, which killed hundreds of thousands globally.