Hours after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus a pandemic, US President Donald Trump suspended all travel from Europe to the country for the next 30 days. The travel restriction becomes effective from Friday midnight. The travel curb does not apply to the United Kingdom.
The coronavirus has killed more than 4,200 people and infected over 115,000 people globally. The total number of confirmed cases in the US crossed 1,200 with more than 30 deaths.
After China, Italy has become the largest country to see the largest number of deaths and infections due to coronavirus. Italy, placed under complete shutdown, has reported over 800 Covid-19 deaths and more than 12,000 infections.
Trump asks Congress to consider 'immediate payroll tax relief'
Hinting at the possibility of easing travel restrictions on South Korea and China, the epicentre of the virus, Trump said that even though the restrictions will be in place, in case the situation improves he might contemplate a "possible early opening."
According to Fox News, Trump in an address from the Oval office, said he would ask Congress to think of an "immediate payroll tax relief." If accepted, the tax relief would remove the 6.2 per cent tax on an employee's salary up to $137,000. Trump further asked insurance companies to relinquish co-payments towards testing and treatment of the virus.
WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, while declaring the outbreak pandemic, said: "We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear. We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic."
Updating the congressional committee, about the coronavirus outbreak that has impacted 38 US states so far, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield had said: "Right now the epicenter – the new China – is Europe. And there's a lot of people coming back and forth from Europe that are now starting to seed these communities."
NBA suspends its season amidst coronavirus threat
After one of its players tested positive for coronavirus, the NBA suspended its season, fearing the outbreak. The news came after players from Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City were recalled while warming up just before the start of their game on Wednesday night. The match was being held at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.
In a statement issued on its Twitter handle, the NBA said: "The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminary tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to tip-off of tonight's game between Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight's game was cancelled. The affected player was not in the arena.
The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."
Meanwhile, Utah Jazz said they were trying to identify all those who came in close contact with the infected player for checking the spread of the virus.