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President Trump announced in an Oval Office address Wednesday that European travel to the U.S. will be restricted for 30 days, with exemptions for Americans who undergo screening upon their return.

The big picture: The U.S. now has more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus, with the likelihood that there are far more unknown cases due to major delays in testing.

  • The travel restrictions affect member states of the Schengen Area, which includes most but not all of the EU. The United Kingdom and Ireland are not in the Schengen Zone and are not affected by the restrictions.
  • The State Department issued a global level 3 health advisory late Wednesday advising Americans to "reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19."

Trump took pains to blame others during his address for the virus taking root in the U.S., calling it a "foreign virus" and noting it started in China.

  • He said the U.S. has been doing better than Europe and that the EU “failed” to do enough soon enough. The case and death count have been surging in Italy, which has put the entire country under lockdown.

Trump also announced plans for an economic stimulus package, including:

  • Low-interest loans for small businesses via the Small Business Administration.
  • Deferring tax payments for affected businesses and individuals via the Treasury Department.
  • Calling on Congress to cut payroll taxes.

Between the lines: A lot of the most ambitious asks from Trump rely on Congress for approval, notes Axios' Alayna Treene.

  • This will provide him cover if things go haywire — he can say he asked for significant action but Congress prevented it from becoming a reality.

Behind the scenes: These options were considered in the taskforce Tuesday and presented to the president Wednesday, a senior administration official told Axios' Jonathan Swan.

  • The source said multiple senior health officials in the administration supported the travel ban from Europe given the recent spikes, especially in Italy.
  • Swan asked whether Trump had second thoughts about the economic effects of this.
  • “All of us do,” the official said. “Of course. But it’s a matter of what’s best in the long term.”

Of note: Financial markets reacted negatively to the news. Pre-market trading pointed to an ugly stock market open that would push the S&P 500 into bear market territory, per Axios' Courtenay Brown.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) criticized Trump in a statement for not addressing a "lack of coronavirus testing kits throughout the United States." 
  • The Democrats announced they would introduce the Families First Coronavirus Response Act Thursday, which they said would include "free coronavirus testing, paid emergency leave for workers, food security assistance, help to states overburdened by Medicaid costs, and strengthened Unemployment Insurance."

The bottom line: "This is not a financial crisis," Trump said. "This is just a temporary moment of time."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the State Department and Democrats' statements and the markets' reaction.

Go deeper

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.