In this file photo shows the US Capitol in Washington. AFP
US President Donald Trump said on Monday he will suspend all immigration into the United States temporarily through an executive order in response to the coronavirus outbreak and to protect American jobs.
The move, which the Republican president announced on Twitter, effectively achieves a long-term Trump policy goal to curb immigration, making use of the health and economic crisis that has swept the country as a result of the pandemic to do so.
The decision drew swift condemnation from some Democrats, who accused the president of creating a distraction from what they view as a slow and faulty response to the coronavirus.
Trump said he was taking the action to protect the US workforce. Millions of Americans are suffering unemployment after companies shed employees amid nationwide lockdowns to stop the contagion.
"In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States," Trump said in a tweet.
The White House declined to offer further details about the reasoning behind the decision, its timing, or its legal basis.
"As our country battles the pandemic, as workers put their lives on the line, the President attacks immigrants & blames others for his own failures", former Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar said in a tweet.
Immigration is largely halted into the United States anyway thanks to border restrictions and flight bans put in place as the virus spread across the globe.
But the issue remains an effective rallying cry for Trump's supporters.
Trump won the White House in 2016 in part on a promise to curb immigration by building a wall on the US border with Mexico. He and his advisers have spent the first three years of his tenure cracking down on both legal and illegal entries into the country. Crowds regularly chant "Build the Wall!" at Trump's political rallies, which are now idled because of the virus.
Trump has lamented the economic fallout of the outbreak; his stewardship of the US economy was set to be his key argument for re-election in November.
The US death toll from the virus topped 42,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally.
The US economy has come to a near standstill because of the pandemic; more than 22 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the last month.
"You cut off immigration, you crater our nation’s already weakened economy," former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said in a tweet. "What a dumb move."
The United States has the world's largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 780,000 infections, up 27,000 on Monday.
In a sign of growing anxiety, Indian Railways, one of the world's biggest networks, cancelled all services except suburban and goods trains until March 31. The move will affect more than 20 million passengers a day and comes after several people tested positive for the virus after trips.
Set a reminder on your smartphone, or someplace in your house, or post sticky notes to tie those medications to something else you’re doing, to remind you.
Public Health England (PHE) has recommended the use of vitamin D supplements during lockdown because people are spending more time indoors and have less exposure to sunlight as a result.
The deal arrives just in time for a summit of world leaders hosted by the U.S. government on Thursday and Friday, where the EU and other global powers will promote their pledges to protect the planet.
Biden has invited 40 world leaders including Xi and Russia's Vladimir Putin to the meet starting on Earth Day, meant to mark Washington's return to the front lines of the fight against climate change after former president Donald Trump disengaged from the process.
As aviation industry players have become more optimistic on the resumption of international flights worldwide, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with a leading European diagnostic service provider, for more ease to passengers required to secure negative Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) test results.
Sheikh Abdullah affirmed the depth and strength of relations between the UAE and Pakistan, which, he said, are longstanding and based on mutual trust and respect. He stressed the two nations’ determination to grow cooperation across all fields for the common good of both nations’ peoples.