Trump institutes travel ban due to ongoing coronavirus outbreak

Just hours after the World Health Organization declared that the outbreak of COVID-19/coronavirus is officially a global pandemic, U.S. President Donald Trump declared in a televised speech that all travel from Europe to the U.S. would be suspended for 30 days, starting at midnight on 13 March.

While Trump initially stated in his speech that the travel prohibitions would also apply to trade and cargo, the White House later clarified that the ban only applies to foreign nationals trying to travel to the U.S., not goods, cargo, or U.S. citizens trying to return. The ban currently does not apply to the United Kingdom.

Trump also promised an additional USD 8.3 billion (EUR 7.3 billion) in funding for the Center for Disease Control and other government agencies tasked with countering the virus’s spread.

As the seafood industry continues to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, the National Fisheries Institute has launched a new website as a resource for the seafood industry. The site includes answers to questions that NFI has been asked frequently, and includes information from authoritative sources. 

The reason for the travel ban, Trump stated, is the coronavirus infections that were caused by travelers from Europe who had been infected with the virus.

“The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots,” Trump said. “As a result a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.”

The new ban adds to the long list of international events and trade that has been impacted by the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in a market in Wuhan, China. Both Seafood Expo North America and Seafood Expo Global have been postponed due to the event, and concerns about the virus have countries in Asia restricting trade.

The virus will also likely have lasting impacts on a number of seafood industries. China’s aquaculture sector is expected to see lasting impacts as farmers become hesitant to stock due to trade restrictions, impacting production further into 2020. Shrimp producing provinces in Indonesia, as well, have bene hit by the impacts as exports drop due to trade restrictions. Even Kenya’s lobster industry has taken a hit as trade restrictions and a lack of tourism has cut into exports and dropped prices substantially.

In his speech, Trump promised an additional USD 50 billion (EUR 44.5 billion) to the Small Business Administration in order to counter economic impacts of the virus. He also promised tax relief to businesses to provide an additional stimulus.

“Using emergency authority, I will be instructing the Treasury Department to defer tax payments without interest or penalties for certain individuals and businesses negatively impacted,” Trump said.  

Photo courtesy of Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock


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