Trump to address nation on coronavirus outbreak
WASHINGTON, U.S. President Donald Trump was to address the nation Wednesday to unveil a package of measures to tackle a growing outbreak of the coronavirus in the country amid speculation they could include new travel restrictions.
Trump is expected to announce measures to provide economic relief to workers and businesses affected by COVID-19, according to news reports. He could also unveil new travel restrictions, especially on Europe, where the virus has spread rapidly in recent days.
"I will be addressing the Nation this evening at 9:00 P.M. (Eastern) from the Oval Office," Trump wrote on Twitter, without elaborating.
The address will also be watched closely in South Korea as to whether it will include new travel restrictions to and from affected countries.
Axios reported Tuesday that senior Trump administration officials discussed banning travel from South Korea and Italy before ultimately nixing the idea.
Sources who spoke with the outlet said the determination was based on public health officials' assessment that the virus was spreading too quickly to be contained, and concerns within the State and Defense departments about the consequences given the strong U.S. military presence in South Korea and Italy's central location in the European Union.
Earlier, at a meeting with bankers at the White House, Trump touted his administration's previous action to restrict travel from China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
"We made a great decision on China and Asia, and they're healing and they're healing at a pretty good rate. Happy about that," Trump said.
"And we could start to think about getting back involved in that part of the world. And, as you know, we have another part of the world -- Europe -- that's in very tough shape. It's having a hard time right now with the virus. And we'll be making various decisions. You'll be hearing about them at approximately 8 o'clock tonight," he said.
So far, the State Department has issued the highest-level travel advisory for Daegu, where the majority of cases in South Korea have been reported, urging Americans not to travel there. The rest of South Korea has been under the second-highest level advisory, which calls for reconsidering travel to the country.
The United States has reported 1,300 infections, while South Korea has reported 7,755.
Source: Yonhap News Agency