President Donald Trump announced a sweeping travel ban on Europe on Wednesday but key parts were quickly walked back by the administration.
Trump announced in an Oval Office address that he would suspend all travel and trade with Europe for 30 days, excluding the United Kingdom.
He did not say why the UK, which has 460 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, was exempt.
Trump said the ban was part of the "most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”
The European Union, he said, "failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hotspots. As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe."
Trump then walks it back:
Minutes after his address, Trump said that trade will be in “no way” affected by the ban despite saying in his scripted speech that it applied to cargo as well.
Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli further clarified that the ban “does not apply to American citizens of legal permanent residents or their families.”
The health insurance industry further clarified Trump’s claim that insurers “agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments.” The agreement only applies to costs for testing, a health insurance lobby group said.
The European Commission slammed Trump’s announcement on Thursday.
"The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action," the organization said in a statement.
The statement added that the EU "disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation."