Three eye-popping stories emerged from America on Wednesday (March 11) night in the wake of COVID-19.
First, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. is suspending all travel between America and Europe for 30 days starting this Friday (March 13th).
The President made the announcement in an Oval Office address to the nation.
In his address, Trump blamed the European Union for not acting swiftly enough to address the spread of COVID-19, arguing that U.S. COVID-19 cases were “seeded” by European travellers.
The restrictions Trump announced won’t apply to the United Kingdom, adding that that the U.S. would be watching the situation to see if travel could continue at an earlier date.
“We are marshalling the full power” of the government and private sector, Trump said.
Meanwhile, Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson announced Wednesday night that they have tested positive for coronavirus, representing the first celebrities to go public with a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Hanks and Wilson, both age 63, revealed the news Wednesday, as reported by Variety.
The married couple are currently in Australia, filming Baz Luhrmann’s untitled Elvis Presley movie, in which Hanks plays Presley’s manager Colonel Tom Parker.
“Hello, folks. Rita and I are down here in Australia. We felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches. Rita had some chills that came and went. Slight fevers too. To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the Coronavirus, and were found to be positive,” Hanks said in a statement, as reported by Variety.
“Well, now. What to do next? The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed. We Hanks’ will be tested observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?” Hanks stated.
All this comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic early Wednesday afternoon.
"In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher," WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a press conference, which was broadcasted live online.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled a $1 billion plan to fight COVID-19 in Canada that same day, confirming that Canada's borders will remain open and that there are no plans to restrict the freedom of movement for Canadian travellers any time soon.
"There are obvious slow downs in the tourism sector, and the recommendation not to take cruises has had an impact,” Trudeau said.
There are currently more than 118,000 cases of COVID-19 in 114 countries, and more than 4,290 deaths.
Finally, the NBA announced late Wednesday night that it is suspending its season indefinitely following Wednesday night's games after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.
Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.
In an NBA communications bulletin, the organization stated:
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
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