THE Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential trips to the United States — even if you can get into the country.
The advice comes after Donald Trump added the UK and Ireland to a list of 26 EU countries hit with a 30-day travel ban. ‘The (virus) numbers have gone up fairly precipitously over the last 24 hours,’ the US president said.
The restrictions, which come into force at midnight tonight, do not apply to US citizens returning home — although they faced queues of more than four hours for screening.
‘We are doing very precise medical screenings at our airports,’ the president tweeted. ‘Pardon the interruptions and delays, we are moving as quickly as possible, but it is very important that we be vigilant and careful. We must get it right. Safety first!’
Lines were particularly bad at JFK Terminal 4 in New York, Chicago O’Hare Terminal 5 and Dallas Fort Worth airport. ‘Thousands of travellers packed into the room for hours,’ tweeted Jason Whitely at Dallas Forth Worth.
‘Travellers from Europe being pulled out of line and taken… somewhere. It felt apocalyptic.’
The US has seen 60 deaths and more than 2,100 cases of coronavirus.
Meanwhile the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the second time in less than two weeks — to a target range of 0 per cent to 0.25 per cent.
Mr Trump also announced the release of up to £40billion in emergency funding, saying: ‘Your federal government will unleash every authority, resource and tool at its disposal to safeguard the lives and health of our people.’
Last night Ohio announced all bars and restaurants in the state would close. Governor Mike DeWine said: ‘Every day we delay, more people will die.’
Mr Trump himself tested negative for the virus after it emerged he met an infected Brazilian official at his Florida home last week.