HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - President Trump is suspending all travel to Europe for 30 days in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The travel ban takes effect Friday, he said.
Trump made the announcement Wednesday in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the novel coronavirus and saying U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travelers.
Trump says the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom.
Here’s more of the latest coronavirus news:
- The NBA has suspended its season indefinitely after Utah Jazz all-star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. In a news release, the NBA said it will “use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus epidemic.”
- In another shocking development Tom Hanks and his wife have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Academy Award-winning actor said in a post on Twitter. He’s under quarantine in Australia.
- The World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
- UH economists are predicting dire economic consequences from the coronavirus outbreak, including 6,000 jobs losses in Hawaii and a years-long recovery.
The Public Access Room at the state Capitol will be closed until next Wednesday out of a link to a patient who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Health Department said an employee at the access room was connected indirectly with the second person to test positive with coronavirus in Hawaii.
After officials at the state Legislature learned of the link, the office was closed and employees were sent home out of an abundance of caution. The office will be disinfected.
The Hapalua half-marathon set for April 5 is being postponed.
Organizers announced the decision Wednesday. Some 10,000 people attend the marathon annually, and about 40% of them travel for the event from the mainland or internationally.
“By acting responsibly now we can collectively stop the spread of COVID-19 and get life back to normal,” organizers said, in a news release, adding that they’re looking for an alternate date.
The event is the latest to be canceled in recent days.
Also Wednesday, the International Studies Association announced it would cancel its annual conference slated for Honolulu from March 25 to 28.
The event typically attracts about 20,000 attendees.
Conference officials said the decision was made to protect the health and welfare of ISA members and the broader community.
The annual Saint Patrick’s Day block Party in Downtown Honolulu has also been called off. It draws thousands every year.
The Department of Education is cancelling all school-related travel to the mainland and internationally.
Schools Superintendent Christine Kishimoto said the decision was made to “ensure the health and well-being of our school communities.”
Kishimoto said rule begins Thursday. There were school trips scheduled to depart Wednesday, however.
The state has tested 26 people total as of Tuesday night, according to the DOH.
Of those tests, two came back positive and those cases are both linked to travel ― one patient was on a cruise and the other was in Seattle.
Hawaii’s new surveillance testing program will work like this:
- Samples from sick people will be taken at facilities statewide.
- Those samples will be tested for the flu.
- Among the tests that come back negative, the state will take a random sampling.
- Those random samples will then be tested for coronavirus.
State Health Department Director Bruce Anderson said the surveillance program is designed to figure out quickly “if there’s community spread in Hawaii.”
He added the Health Department hopes to include 200 random samples in the program weekly once it’s fully implemented. In its first week, though, the state Lab will test about 40 samples.
Separately, the private sector is also offering more coronavirus testing. Premier Medical Group says tests were made available to doctors Tuesday. And Clinical Labs is also now offering a test.
Wahiawa Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is limiting visitors to long-term care residents in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the facility.
“I want to emphasize that this is simply a precautionary measure," said Administrator Rebecca Canon-Fratis, adding that there have been no cases of the coronavirus at the nursing home.
The facility plans to limit one visitor per patient in most cases.
Other facilities are also taking new measures as the outbreak spreads nationally.
There have been two cases of coronavirus in Hawaii, but both were linked to travel. Even so, health care officials fear that the virus could be in the community undetected because not all cases are severe.
The U.S. State Department is urging Americans to postpone cruise travel amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Officials said travelers with underlying health conditions should absolutely cancel cruise travel plans.
The warning comes in the wake of several coronavirus clusters linked to cruise ships.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green has even suggested temporarily stopping cruise ships from docking in Hawaii.
Want to catch the most recent updates on the coronavirus outbreak? Remember to download the Hawaii News Now apps for Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire, where you can watch our daily 3 p.m. studio update with Ashley Nagaoka.
We’ll bring you the day’s latest news on the worldwide outbreak and how local officials are working to contain a COVID-19 outbreak here in Hawaii.
This story will be updated.