Sky News reports: The president blames the EU for not acting quickly enough and claims US coronavirus clusters were “seeded” by European travellers.

Donald Trump has suspended all flights from mainland Europe to the US for 30 days following the spread of coronavirus cases across the continent.

The US president said the sanctions will come into effect from midnight – but will not apply to flights from the UK.

He blamed the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the outbreak of the virus and said US clusters were “seeded” by European travellers.

Mr Trump said: “We made a lifesaving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe.”

The president said the US would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier.

Mr Trump said “we are marshalling the full power” of the government and private sector to protect the American people.

He also announced the US will defer tax payments for some individuals and businesses for three months to lessen the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

He said the Small Business Administration will also make low-interest loans available to businesses to help them weather the storm.

“This is not a financial crisis,” he said. “This just a temporary moment of time that we will overcome together as a nation and as a world.”

After days of playing down the threat, Mr Trump changed gears with his Oval Office address.

The mounting effort to contain the virus and financial fall-out intensified on a gruelling day.

Communities cancelled public events nationwide, universities moved to cancel in-person classes, and families grappled with the impact of disruptions to public schools.

The number of confirmed cases of the infection topped 1,000 in the US and the World Health Organisation declared the global crisis was now a pandemic.

Meanwhile, the NBA has suspended its season in the United States due to outbreak “until further notice”, the Association said in a statement.

The decision came after Wednesday night’s game between the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed after Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

The NBA, one of the biggest and most watched sporting leagues in the world, is nearing the end of its home-and-away season.

Its play-offs were due to start on 18 April.

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