President Donald Trump on Saturday announced travel restrictions affecting Iran, Italy and South Korea in response to the coronavirus outbreak as the first death from the virus was reported in the United States.
After Trump acknowledged the first death from the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, in the U.S., Vice President Mike Pence explained to reporters in a joint news conference at the White House what the travel ban entails.
“Iran is already under a travel ban, but we are expanding existing travel restrictions to include any foreign national who has visited Iran within the last 14 days,” Pence said. “In addition to Iran, we are going to increase to the highest level of advisory — which is level four — advising Americans do not travel to specific regions in Italy and South Korea.”
He added that the president had also directed the State Department to “work with our allies in Italy and in South Korea to coordinate a screening — a medical screening in their countries of any individuals that are coming into the United States of America.”
Trump said 22 people in the U.S. had the virus and that more cases were “likely.” However, some 62 people are believed to be infected with the virus.
“Unfortunately, one person passed away overnight,” Trump added. “Additional cases in the United States are likely but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover. If you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine.”
A man in his 50s from Washington state with underlying health conditions died late Friday.
Trump stressed that there was “no reason to panic at all.”
Responding to a reporter’s question, Trump also said the U.S. was considering restrictions at the Mexican border as well. However, he later added that “this is not a border that seems to be much of a problem right now.”
Italy has at least 1,128 confirmed cases and 29 deaths, and France with 100 cases has reported two deaths, according to The New York Times. In Australia, there are 25 confirmed cases, and the first death from the virus was reported Sunday.
At least 19 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in the U.K., whose Foreign Office has advised against “all but essential travel” to 11 locked-down towns at the center of the Italian outbreak.
Around the world, there are about 87,000 cases, the majority of them in China, where the virus originated last year. At least 2,976 people have died from the disease — 2,870 in mainland China, and 106 in other parts of the world.
Willow Creek Germany had to end its three-day leadership summit in Karlsruhe, southwest Germany, a day early last week after a speaker tested positive for coronavirus. Willow Creek said in a statement in German on Twitter that the speaker, who has not been named, “was not at any time present during the summit” and that there was no risk to delegates.
As more than 50 countries have reported cases of coronavirus, the World Health Organization has upgraded the global risk of the outbreak to “very high.” However, WHO clarified that there was still a chance of containing the virus if its chain of transmission were broken.
The international evangelical humanitarian agency World Vision is spending millions to provide assistance to nearly 400,000 people in China. Sponsoring over 55,000 children and employing 300 staffers in China, World Vision is one of the largest humanitarian aid organizations operating in the country.