…As Juventus player, Rugani tests positive for coronavirus***
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a 30-day ban on most travel from Europe set to take effect Friday at midnight, as the country experiences a surge in coronavirus cases.
“I will always put the well-being of America first,” Trump said in a rare address from the Oval Office.
But shortly after his televised announcement, which said the restrictions would apply to trade with Europe, Trump walked backed his statement in a tweet, saying the ban “stops people, not goods.”
The travel ban is set to take effect Friday at midnight (0400 GMT), and does not include travellers from Britain or US citizens.
It will apply to anyone who was physically present within the Schengen Area – made up of 26 European countries with freedom of movement between them – in the 14 days prior to their attempted entry to the US.
The restrictions also include important exemptions for US residents, certain visa holders and many people with a familial relation to a US citizen or US resident.
Trump’s Oval Office address comes as the impact of the outbreak is being felt across the country causing major disruptions to financial markets, sporting events and school districts.
On Wednesday the death toll in the US reached 37, with 29 of the deaths in north-western Washington State, while cases surged past 1,300, according to a database assembled by John Hopkins University.
Earlier on Wednesday, Anthony Fauci, a top US official handling the novel coronavirus response, said the pandemic is “going to get worse.”
Fauci said the nation should “change our behaviour,” and said there should not be gatherings of large crowds.
In a surprise announcement the National Basketball Association – one of the biggest sporting organizations in the world – announced that the current basketball season will be suspended “until further notice” after a player preliminarily tested positive for the virus.
The NCAA collegiate basketball tournament, another massive weeks-long event, will also go on this month without fans in attendance.
The large US city of Seattle, located in Washington state, said Wednesday it will close all public schools for two weeks.
Meanwhile, the State Department called on US citizens to reconsider all international travel in light of the global health crisis.
“How much worse it will get will depend on our ability to do two things: to contain the influx of people who are infected coming from the outside, and the ability to contain and mitigate within our own country,” Fauci added.
The virus has roiled US markets, sending the Dow Jones Industrial average into a bear market on Wednesday – constituting a 20 per cent drop from the index’s 52-week high.
The novel coronavirus outbreak originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December and has spread across the globe, with nearly 120,000 cases confirmed worldwide.
In the meantime, Juventus defender Daniele Rugani has become the first Serie A player to test positive for coronavirus, the Turin side said on Wednesday.
Juventus said in a statement that the 26-year-old Italy international, who played in matches against Brescia and SPAL in February, had not shown any symptoms of the virus
He was on the bench for Sunday’s home game against Inter Milan.
The Turin side is one of Europe’s biggest clubs with a squad that includes five-times world player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, who is currently in his native Madeira.
“The footballer, Daniele Rugani, has tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic,” Juve said in a statement.
“Juventus Football Club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him.”
Juventus had held a training session earlier on Wednesday.
However, the club said Ronaldo did not take part as he had travelled to Madeira and would remain there “awaiting developments related to the current health emergency”.
Inter Milan, meanwhile, have suspended all competitive activities until further notice.
“The club is currently taking steps to put all the necessary procedures into place,” Inter Milan said.
A source close to Juventus told Reuters that the players would now have to be isolated and put into quarantine for two weeks.
That would mean the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at home to Olympique Lyonnais next week but that match is now in doubt.
The Italian government has banned all sports events, including Serie A, until at least April 3, in a bid to contain Europe’s worst outbreak.
The most recent games were played on Sunday.
On Wednesday the death toll in Europe’s worst-affected country jumped by 196 in 24 hours to 827.
Confirmed cases across Italy rose to 12,462 from a previous 10,149.
Four players at third tier Pianese had previously tested positive for the virus.
Rugani joined Juventus from Empoli in 2013, although he then returned to Empoli on loan. He has been at Juve since 2015.
He played for Italy at youth levels and has won seven caps for the senior national side.
-dpa with additional reports from Reuters