US announces new travel restrictions to combat coronavirus outbreak

The United States announced new travel restrictions to and from parts of the world worst hit by the coronavirus outbreak after the first death caused by the disease in America as the Trump administration was seen struggling to put together an effective response.

The Trump administration has expanded the travel ban on Iran, which has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, to now include foreign nationals who have visited that country in the last 14 days. The state department raised travel warning advisory for Americans travelling to South Korea and Italy, which are reporting an increasing number of cases, to the highest level. More restrictions are expected, including along the southern border.

The Trump administration’s initial response to the outbreak and rising concerns in the United States was seen as marked by confusion and bureaucratic infighting, some of which appears to have continued. Acknowledging the first death from COVID-19 in the US, President Donald Trump misidentified the victim as a woman, telling reporters at a White House briefing Saturday she was “a wonderful woman — a medically high-risk patient in her late fifties”. The victim was a man.

The United States has 22 reported cases of coronavirus and health officials have warned there are more but have also sought to reassure Americans that their risk of contracting the illness was “low”.

“Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,” Trump told reporters, and seeking to address American directly, he added, “healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine”.

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