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14 Mar, 2020 16:34

US to suspend all travel to UK & Ireland from Monday night due to pandemic

US to suspend all travel to UK & Ireland from Monday night due to pandemic

The United Kingdom and Ireland will soon be added to the list of nations that are banned from traveling to the United States, as the country tries to contain its Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak.

"The president has decided to suspend all travel from the UK and Ireland midnight, Monday night, Eastern Standard Time," Vice President Mike Pence said at a White House press conference on Saturday, adding that US citizens in those nations are encouraged to "come home."

The confirmation came minutes after US President Donald Trump said he'd been "looking at it very seriously," explaining that "they've had a little activity, unfortunately" in reference to the Covid-19 coronavirus spread in Europe.

Trump had originally exempted the two island nations from his 30-day ban on travelers from the 26 Schengen area European countries, which took effect at midnight on Friday.

A total of 1,140 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the UK — which is up from just over 800 reported cases before the weekend — and 100 in Ireland have tested positive for coronavirus. In the UK there have been over 21 deaths from Covid-19 and in Ireland there has been one.

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There are "about 2,200" coronavirus cases in the US and 50 deaths so far, Dr Anthony Fauci, who is part of the pandemic task force set up by the president, confirmed at Saturday's press conference.

"We have not reached our peak yet," he warned, adding that they expect "more cases" and "more death," especially among the "vulnerables in our society," including elderly citizens and those suffering from preexisting conditions.

President Trump confirmed at the press conference that he'd been tested on Friday evening for coronavirus, following concerns about his interactions with two Brazilian government officials who have since tested positive.

Despite telling reporters on Friday that he was "not concerned" about contracting the coronavirus, he said on Saturday the constant questions from the press on the matter were the reason behind him getting tested. He says he does not know when he will have the results, but it'll likely be in "a day or two days."

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Speaking at the same press conference, Vice President Mike Pence said he and his wife will be meeting with the White House physician's office on Saturday afternoon to determine whether they should be tested. He said the two are "more than happy" to be tested.

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