Editor’s note: Article revised Mar 12 1900 UTC to update cases, deaths, sporting event cancellations.
The United States will restrict foreign nationals from entering the US from Europe for the next 30 days, excluding the United Kingdom, according to a national address by President Donald Trump.
“To keep new [coronavirus] cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United state for the next 30 days,” the President said.
Specifically, the travel restrictions will apply to all foreign nationals who have traveled through 26 European nations with open border agreements in the last 14 days, according to a White House tweet. A list of those countries was provided by Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The policy will be imposed Friday March 13 at 12:00am ET.
American citizens seeking to reenter the United States from Europe must first pass health checks, the President said. The White House later tweeted that US citizens “will be directed to limited airports where screening can take place.” The specific airports were not announced.
The travel restriction applies to foreign nationals who have been in 26 European countries with open borders agreements, in the last 14 days.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 12, 2020
Those exempt from these restrictions, such as U.S. citizens, will be directed to limited airports where screening can take place.
By the Numbers
In the last two weeks, the number of coronavirus cases in the US has ballooned from 57 cases on Feb 26 to at least 1,323 cases on Mar 12. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia have reported infections, including the first reported cases on Mar 11 in Arkansas, Delaware, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
A Montana resident has tested positive for COVID-19 in Maryland, according to NBC Montana, but the patient has not been in the state since November 2019. The CDC classifies it as a Montana case, however, there is no virus documented in the state as of Mar 11, NBC Montana reports.
Only seven states — Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, and West Virginia –remain without confirmed infections in the US.
Nationwide, 39 COVID-19 related deaths have been reported as of Mar 12:
- Washington State (30 total) reported five additional deaths on Mar 11
- California (4 total) reported one additional death on Mar 11
- South Dakota’s (1) first death was reported Mar 10 and confirmed on Mar 11
- New Jersey (1) and Florida (2) had previously reported deaths
- Georgia (1) just reported its first COVID-19 fatality on Mar 12
High Profile Cases
American actors Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announced on Mar 11 that they have been diagnosed with coronavirus in Australia. Hanks and Wilson, who are married, are in Australia filming a new film focusing on the life of Elvis Presley.
Hanks announced his and Wilson’s diagnoses via twitter, saying they had felt symptoms, were tested, and confirmed as positive for COVID-19. “We Hanks’ will be tested, observed and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires,” he said via tweet.
Meanwhile, NBA all-star and Olympian Rudy Gobert, who plays basketball for the Utah Jazz, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Mar 11, The New York Post reported. Details on how Gobert contracted the virus were not announced, although he was listed as “out” for the team’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Mar 11, due to illness.
Players on Gobert’s team were quarantined in Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena for testing, according to CBS Sports. In addition, the NBA instructed all teams that have played Utah in the last 10 days to self-quarantine, CBS Sports reported.
Major Sports Leagues Affected
Following Gobert’s diagnosis, the NBA announced the league would suspend its season “until further notice.” In a statement posted on twitter, the league said it would use the hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.
Four NBA games already underway were completed on Wednesday, while the scheduled game between Oklahoma City and Utah was canceled, as well as a late game between New Orleans and Sacramento.
Earlier in the day, the NCAA announced its national men’s and women’s basketball tournaments (“March Madness”) would be played in arenas without fans present. According to a statement by NCAA president Mark Emmert, the upcoming championship events would be run “with only essential staff and limited family attendance.”
Some reporters have concluded that, in light of the NBA’s decision to cancel games, the NCAA should follow suit. That decision may come as early as the morning of Thursday Mar 12, when its conference tournament continues with 58 men’s division I games and 27 women’s division I games.
On Mar 12, the National Hockey League “paused” its season, according to a statement from commissioner Gary Bettmann that cited the likely probability that an NHL player would be confirmed with the virus, as in the NBA.
Major League Baseball, which is currently in spring training, has not announced league-wide plans but three teams, the Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, and San Francisco Giants, will relocate games due to public health bans on large gatherings in their home state or city.
On Mar 11, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced a ban on all public gatherings over 250 people in three counties, including King County, where the Mariners play. The same day, San Francisco city officials issued a similar ban on public gatherings over 1,000 people, which will force the Giants to relocate games.