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Coronavirus: Trump slaps travel ban on Europe, Tom Hanks tests positive and the NBA suspends games

The E.U. blasted Trump for "unilaterally" imposing the travel ban that has unleashed chaos and confusion.
Image: People wearing protective face masks line up at the Air France ticketing desk inside Terminal 2E at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport
People wearing protective face masks line up at the Air France ticketing desk at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport in Thursday after the U.S. banned travel from Europe.Benoit Tessier / Reuters

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump announced major new restrictions on travel from Europe, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic and the Dow fell into bear market territory.

And to top it all off, Tom Hanks became the first global celebrity to test positive for the virus.

Here’s the latest on the coronavirus outbreak and the worldwide response.


Trump restricts travel from continental Europe for 30 days

President Trump announced that he was sharply restricting travel to the United States from continental Europe for 30 days, in an effort to halt the growing coronavirus outbreak.

In a prime-time address from the Oval Office Wednesday night, Trump outlined a series of measures to tackle the virus and its economic impact. (Watch the full statement).

The travel restrictions, which go into effect Friday at midnight, apply only to foreign nationals, and not U.S. citizens, green card holders or the families of U.S. citizens, the Department of Homeland Security said. U.K. citizens were also made exempt, although the virus is present there.

The ban does not apply to European trade or goods, though Trump suggested that that was the case during his prime-time address. The White House scrambled to fix his apparent misstatement, clarifying that the restriction applied only to people.

The immediate reaction to Trump's announcement in European airports Thursday morning was chaos and confusion.

European Union leaders issued a rare joint statement condemning Trump's move, saying it was taken "unilaterally and without consultation."

They also condemned the attacks Trump made on them during his address, when he accused the E.U. of spreading the virus in the U.S. by not imposing sufficient travel restrictions on China and elsewhere.

"The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action," the presidents of the European Commission and European Council said in a joint statement.

Many Americans and foreigners wanting to travel to the United States were scrambling to work out what it meant for their travel plans.

"Lots of chaotic energy in Tegel right now," said NBC News journalist Shannon Ho, who was at Berlin's Tegel airport about to fly home from vacation just hours after the restrictions were announced.

"Americans are stressed and just trying to get home," she added, after speaking with several U.S. citizens there amid the panic.

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WHO declares COVID-19 a pandemic

Trump's speech came after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on Wednesday.

"Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly," WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said during the news conference Wednesday.

He said that the new characterization does not change how WHO is confronting the virus and emphasized that if countries work together they can control the spread of illness.

"We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world," he said. "It’s doable."


Dow ends 11-year bull market run, crosses into bear territory

Futures contracts tied to the major U.S. stock indexes fell sharply early Thursday after the address from Trump failed to quell concerns over the possible economic slowdown from the coronavirus.

The move comes after the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended its historic 11-year bull market run by closing in bear-market territory. A bear market marks a 20 percent decline from all-time highs.

"The crux of the angst investors are feeling as the coronavirus spreads surrounds what might happen to consumer spending," wrote Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

"Consumers sitting at home and not out spending money because they fear catching the coronavirus is the ultimate negative outcome," he added.

NBC News Senior Business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle analyzes how Trump's proposed payroll tax cuts and small business loans could impact the economic downturn from the coronavirus outbreak. (Video)


NBA suspends its season, Tom Hanks tests positive

The NBA suspended all games starting Thursday after a player for the Utah Jazz preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The league said play would be suspended until further notice.

The test result was reported shortly before tipoff of Wednesday night's game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, according to a statement from the NBA. The game was canceled immediately.

The affected player, who was not named, was not in the arena at the time of cancellation.

Meantime, actor Tom Hanks announced that he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Hanks, 63, posted Wednesday on Instagram that while in Australia, he and his wife, Rita Wilson, came down with symptoms resembling a cold, as well as body aches and slight fevers.

"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 wrote.

Get the latest updates on the outbreak in our live blog.

See maps of where the virus has spread in the U.S. and worldwide.

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Quote of the day

"We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declaring the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.


One fun thing

It's a bird, it's a dinosaur, it's ... really tiny: A new species has left dinosaur experts baffled.

The fossil skull of the new species, dubbed Oculudentavis, meaning "eye tooth bird," is just over half an inch long, and researchers think the animal was smaller than the bee hummingbird, the smallest known modern bird.

"It's really tiny," said one of the scientists who studied the new dinosaur, Jingmai O'Connor, a paleontologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing. "And it's just weird on multiple levels."

An artistic rendering of Oculudentavis imagining what it looked like preying on an insect.HAN Zhixin / Los Angeles Natural History Museum

Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

We're all hands on deck in terms of our coronavirus coverage. Please send me any comments or questions: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra Cahill